The 2017 World Baseball classic was a rush of adrenaline as a St. Louis Cardinals’ fan. Our catcher seemed back to his old self.
It was like traveling back in time and watching a young and enthusiastic Yadier Molina throw out runners and picking runners off first with regularity. As a lifetime St. Louis Cardinals’ fan, there was only two times I felt more pure joy than I did watching Yadi at the WBC. Those times were the times we won it all in 2006 and 2011.
Molina is also due for a new contract after the end of the 2017 Season and there are rumors that Yadi wants upward of 15 Million dollars a year for a length of 3-4 years. Yadi is starting to get old, there’s no denying that. The thing that makes Yadi’s growing old different than others is, he’s getting better.
His defense has regressed a tad these last two seasons, but he is still a top 10 defensive catcher. His offense is what is progressing and is different than most people who grow old in baseball. Offense is ALWAYS the first thing to leave a player entering the end of his prime years. Some people also claim the St. Louis Cardinals must pay him because of how he played in the World Baseball Classic.
The Cardinals HAVE to re-sign Yadier Molina and it has nothing to do with his offensive progression or the way he played in the WBC. It has to do with Carlos Martinez, Trevor Rosenthal, Alex Reyes, and Sandy Alcantra. It has to do with the Home Run over Endy Chavez‘s glove in 2006, the celebration after catching Adam Wainwright‘s nasty curveball in 2006, and his heart and passion on the field.
Yadier Molina is the heart and sole of the Saint Louis Cardinals. Yadi runs the pitching staff, no offense to Derek Lilliquist, but Yadi is the most important “Coach” most of these young guns will ever have. He knows how to calm down Carlos when it is obvious C-Mart is starting to unravel or get wound up. He knows how to handle Lance Lynn‘s hard-ass attitude on the mound and his stubbornness to only throw fastballs. He’s goofy and relaxed when Wainwright is on the mound. He deals with the head case of a project that Rosenthal is. He is the steady rock that Luke Weaver, Sandy Alcantara, and Alex Reyes need while being thrown into the fire that is Major League Baseball compared to AAA baseball.
The way Yadi plays is also a major key to the Cardinals. Yadi plays with a smile but he also has a firey passion built in him that shows a lot. The Cardinals signed Dexter Fowler over the off season because they needed someone who could get on base and a consistent lead off hitter who could play solid defense in Center Field.
The St. Louis Cardinals also brought in Fowler to help with the clubhouse and the attitude in the clubhouse. Over the past few years seems to slowly be losing his spark and joy and looks a little sluggish at times. At the WBC he showed all that passion again that we have grown so accustomed to over the years.
Yadi retiring a Cardinal is more important than Albert Pujols being re-signed, more important than Ozzie Smith‘s flips at Shortstop, and more important than Tony LaRussa and the “Cardinal Way”. Yadi is St. Louis Cardinals’ baseball, he is the heart and soul that keeps the engine running. Allowing arguably the most important Cardinal of all time to walk would be a damned shame.
For more on the Yadier Molina situation, be sure to check out our piece from last week on the Molina contract situation.