Albert Pujols’ exit from the St. Louis Cardinals after eleven seasons drove home a point to his closest friend on the team. At the day’s close, it is a hard, cold business. Baseball spreads
Four-time Gold Glove catcher Yadier Molina enters spring training this year a whole life Cardinal seeking a long term extension, just like Pujols a year ago. Molina is heading into the last year of his plan and he would like to stay in St. Louis.
But he stresses it’s a 2-way street. And it can’t help matters that Pujols is now two time zones apart. Baseball odds
“When you spend fairly time for how many years, 8 years, I feel Albert is like my big brother,” Molina expounded. “When you see a man going like he did last year, going to another team, yep, it affected me.”
The 29-year-old Molina, the youngest and most talented of three siblings to catch on in the major leagues, is coming off perhaps his best season. In addition to a strong year behind the plate, he set career offensive highs with a .300 average, fourteen homers and 65 RBIs, then added nine RBIs in the World Series.
As much as he’d like to remain around, as much as he respects the managing team of Manager Bill DeWitt Jr. and CEO John Mozeliak, Molina doesn’t mean to give the Cardinals a hometown discount to get the deal sealed. Eyes totally open from the failed Pujols talks, he points out that the cash has to be right on the opposite side of the table, too.
“I will say this: I like the city, I appreciate the town, but simultaneously I have to think about my family,” Molina recounted, like they would about their club. Like I said, this is business. If I get good cash, I should take it. If I don’t, I could go away.”
Molina declared talks have stalled the last 2 weeks. Unlike Pujols, who cut off negotiations on the 1st day of spring training last Feb. with the clear plan to test free agency, Molina plans no such ultimatum.
Whenever the Cardinals are prepared to resume negotiations, Molina is prepared, too.
“Yeah,” he said. “I’m open to talk.”
Mozeliak recounted the Cardinals will do what they can to make an agreement.
“I feel it’s more open-ended at this point,” the General Manager said. “Our wish is generally to find some way to sign him.”
Ideally, Molina would like to have an offer done before Opening Day so he will concentrate his total attention to the game and help the Cardinals defend their World Series title. He appears trimmer than last season, although he says nothing has modified, and enthusiastically told new manager Mike Matheny he wanted to play all 162 games, though he claimed which has nothing to do with any kind of income drive.
“I continually come in good condition, this isn’t a different year,” Molina said. “I can not wait to get out there and catch.”
There is no question in Matheny’s mind that Molina has come to camp excited.
“Clearly he had a front row seat to look at how things went and that’s going to doubtless weigh on him a little bit, I think of,” Matheny claimed. “The one point I know is that he’s motivated to get better, and I can’t assume the contract thing weighs on him that much.