Page last updated on Fri Oct 09 16:07:49 EDT 2015
Wed, 07 Mar 2012 01:11 PM EST

The St. Louis Cardinals made particular another massive star did not get away.

Four-time Gold Glove catcher Yadier Molina concluded to a 5-year, $75 million deal that kicks in next season and will keep him in St. Louis through the 2017 season. The agreement makes Molina, long renowned for his top defense and with a much improved bat, the 2nd-highest paid catcher in the majors. NFL scores

Contrary Molina’s best buddy Albert Pujols, who bolted for a 10-year, $240 million agreement with Anaheim in December, the Cardinals stepped up before another of their cornerstone players enrolled the last year of his agreement. Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. Called Molina a “franchise-type player.”

The whole amount could easily top $90 million over 7 seasons with Molina due to make $7 million this year and a mutual, $15 million option for 2018. The agreement trails only the Twins’ Joe Mauer (8 years, $184 million) among catchers.

Molina won his 2nd World Series with St. Louis last fall and announced, “I’m glad to be a Cardinal for 5-6 more years. I’m looking to like 6 more championships. This is a great organization.”

The 29-year-old Molina is a lifetime Cardinal and one of the best defensively at any location, winning a platinum glove last season in voting by followers. He is also coming off the best offensive season of his career. Basketball scores

Molina batted .305 in 2011 with 14 home runs and 65 RBIs, and added 12 RBIs in the team’s World Series title run. He’s been durable, too, averaging 138 games the last 3 seasons.

“He’s at the peak of his career and we’re simply thrilled to have him,” DeWitt expounded. “He’s a top player, plus he plays so much. We were both very motivated to get this done.”

Both Mozeliak and DeWitt said it was trickier to project what Molina could have made had he waited for free agency because defense is such a very important part of the position. Mozeliak consulted new manager Mike Matheny, a previous 3-time Gold Glove catcher, numerous times and said Matheny’s response was that pursuing a long term handle Molina was a “no brainer.”

“When you think about traditional metrics today, it’s more offense-oriented,” Mozeliak said. “But when you factor in not just the hardware he’s received but additionally the intangibles that go into a position like catcher, when you talk to our pitchers they’re excited this was done.”

Matheny caught for St. Louis from 2000-04, leaving for free agency in 2005 after losing his position to Molina. He claimed Molina came to camp motivated and has set the tone for younger players.

The Cardinals had said since the start of spring training that they were upbeat of reaching a contract. Molina came to camp with a stance toughened by Pujols’ exit, and expounded the team wouldn’t get a hometown deduction. He didn’t set a cut-off point for getting an offer done but was happy to have it out of the way before the season.

“I still think this is a business, but my plan was to stay here and my dedication was to remain here,” Molina said. “We had a very good concept we were going to leave the door open for them.”

Molina has thrown out 44 percent of basestealers for his career, better than Mauer’s 35 percent, with 41 pickoffs. The adversary infrequently runs on him, averaging just 56 attempts his 7 full big league seasons.

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