The St. Louis Cardinals are bringing back Yadier Molina on a one-year deal, a source told ESPN’s Jesse Rogers on Monday, confirming multiple reports.
Molina is a rarity, having spent his entire career — 2,025 games over 17 seasons — with the same team, the St. Louis Cardinals. The only two players to play more games in a Cardinals uniform in franchise history are Hall of Famers Stan Musial (3,026) and Lou Brock (2,289).
The nine-time All-Star selection played 42 of 60 games during the pandemic-shortened season, hitting .262 with 4 home runs and 16 RBIs.
Molina also became the 12th catcher in major league history to join the 2,000-hit club, and his 2,0001 hits currently rank fifth among all active players (and sixth in Cardinals franchise history). Behind the plate, Molina has been a steadying influence for the Cardinals pitching staff while also being credited with 170 defensive runs saved as a catcher since 2004.
He has caught 1,989 games over his career, the most with a single franchise in major league history and No. 6 all-time among all catchers.
“I think about [the Hall of Fame] ,” Molina told ESPN prior to last season. “When I started my career, I had to overcome a lot of obstacles. … All I’ve done is work hard to get better and better every single year to become the best catcher I can be. And my numbers are obviously there. I think that, because of the way I catch, that I’m one of the best catchers to have ever played in baseball.”
Molina, 38, tested positive for coronavirus in August as the Cardinals were hit by an outbreak just three games into the 2020 season.
He was critical of the statistical-based process — without the usual input from managers or coaches — used to determine the Gold Glove finalists in 2020. The nine-time winner, which ranks third among catchers, had hoped to tie Hall of Famer Johnny Bench for second with 10.
Molina has been a key component to the Cardinals’ success over the years, having helped lead the team to four National League pennants and two World Series titles. He has a career .281 average with 160 home runs, 932 RBIs, 66 stolen bases and has caught 350 of the would-be 869 baserunners trying to steal a base (40% success rate).
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