Every athlete has to make the tough decision as to when they will hang up the cleats. For most, it may be announced during their final season of a current contract, but Yadier Molina announced his plans on Monday.
Molina is currently on a three-year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he has played his entire career.
Molina, 35, is about to enter his 15th season in Major League Baseball as the catcher of the Cardinals.
For those who don’t know what a catcher does, let me show you some of Molina’s highlights.
Molina has his mind set on 2020 as the endpoint of his playing career. He’s hoping to pick the guy off stealing second and earning his way into the National Baseball Hall of Fame one day.
Molina also wants to help the Cardinals get back to the postseason and have at least one more crack at the bats and balls in the World Series.
He has won two World Series rings with the Cardinals (2006, 2011) and has been an eight-time All-Star. Add his eight Gold Glove Awards and his durability to start at least 128 games behind the plate in eight of the past nine seasons, and you can see that Molina isn’t ready to go anywhere just yet.
Along with his Gold Gloves Award, he is widely considered one of the greatest defensive catchers.
Molina ranks second all-time among catchers with 130 Defensive Runs Saved, and first among active catchers with 845 assists.
He caught 41.69% of runners stealing with 55 pickoffs which resulted in four Platinum Gloves.
As a hitter, he has a batting average .284, 1,730 hits, 126 Home runs, and 785 runs batted in (RBIs) and one Silver Slugger Award with five appearances on the Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) ballots.
In 2006, Molina became just third catcher to play in two World Series before age 25.
In 2016, he became the all-time Cardinals’ leader in games caught with 1,439.
We can expect all of his numbers to continue to increase over the next three seasons.
But 2018 is going to be the most crucial season for Cardinals’ fans. Molina and veteran starting pitcher Adam Wainwright could be playing for the final time together.
Wainwright is in his final year of his contract and said he’ll wait until the end of the 2018 season to make any further decisions.
Although, we can only imagine that this will be his last season especially with the decrease in his numbers.
Wainwright and Molina have started more games as a pitcher-catcher duo than any tandem in franchise history.