Molina Returns for 2021 Season

Yadier Molina, the nine time Gold Glove winner, and mainstay behind the plate every season played at Busch Stadium III, has agreed to come back for an 18th season (details pending).  Molina who will turn 39 this summer, has been a career .281 hitter for the Cardinals since 2004. He reached 2000 hits late last season, and will come into 2021 68 RBI short of 1,000, another milestone that he could reach if he stays healthy.  

Molina has outlasted one heir apparent to the catching throne (Carson Kelly) and will conceivably continue to take starts away from Andrew Knizner, a guy many thought would take over for Yadier by now. By playing with the Cardinals one more season, he possibly may be playing just long enough to give way to Cardinals top catching prospect Ivan Herrera.

There was a time where Cardinals fans thought they had possibly seen the last of Molina and teammate Adam Wainwright.  However, with Adam Wainwright already back in the fold since late last month and the addition of Nolan Arenado, it seemed like it was just a matter of time before Molina reupped with the Cardinals.  I’d wager that he’s chasing one more World Series ring, and for a guy who hit .462 last year in the playoffs, St. Louis made a lot of sense to get one more shot at a third ring.

Speaking of Wainwright, the Cardinals will have their record battery intact for at least one more season.  Wainwright and Molina are 6th all time, and the next time Wainwright throws to Molina will be the 275th time they’ve linked up as a starting duo.  They’ll need 9 more games to move into 4th all time, but wouldn’t be able to move into the top 3 unless Wainwright makes 32 starts which is highly unlikely.

It’s hard to measure all of the things Yadier Molina does for the Cardinals.  His leadership on and off the field, a mentor to many young catchers in the organization, and a guy who has helped his pitchers nab 350 would be base stealers; is someone who continues to provide value for the Cardinals beyond the boxscore.  If this is indeed his last season with the Cardinals, he’ll surely be remembered as one of the best, if not THE BEST catcher in St. Louis Cardinals history.

(Photo Credit: Jamie Squire / Getty Images Sport / Getty)

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