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  • 03/02/2012, 01:02AM ET

The Yadier Molina deal was a steal for the Cardinals.

Marlins Fan (156-78-31) vs OJ Simpson (40-9-3)
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Yadier Molina just signed a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals that will pay him $75 million over five years.

Now I bet some people are thinking that's a lot of jack for a player who many don't consider to be a big-name guy, especially when the club that signed him was too frugal to resign one Albert Pujols.

Thing is, those people would be wrong.

Bringing up the Cardinals' failure to sign Pujols is unfair. The Cardinals reportedly offered Pujols a deal worth $220 million, so it's not like they didn't throw a TON of money at him in an effort to keep him in Cardinal crimson. Big Al just decided $220 mil wasn't enough and he took his talents to LA. Or Anaheim. Or whatever.

And the folks that think $75 mil for Molina are wrong anyway because Yadier is perhaps the best all-around catcher in MLB, and maybe one of the best we've seen in a while.

He's never been known as an offensive force, but in 2011 Molina finished with a .305 BA, a .349 OBP and an .814 OPS, which is pretty damn good for a guy who is known as a defensive stalwart.

Molina is probably the best defensive catcher in baseball and has a rocket for an arm, and is known for calling an outstanding game.


A steal? No.

A steal means they underpaid. A steal means they got a guy nobody else wanted. A steal means they filled a big hole that nobody expected them to fill.

3rd highest deal in MLB history for a catcher. Behind Piazza with the Mets and Mauer currently.

Do u really think this guy is worth that?

Mauer would have been, if he was healthy. That's an unfortunate turn of events for Minny.
Piazza is arguably the best hitting catcher of all time. His defense left much to be desired, but he could rake like no other.

Molina definitely is a good catcher. I'd love to have him on my team any day.

But:

- He's 30 yrs old this season
- His lifetime batting stats don't jump out at you : 274/.331/.377

This signing was needed, but it was more to placate the fans than anything. They let Pujols walk, so they had to do SOMETHING. He is now overpaid because of the PR nightmare that STL had on their hands.

Look at these other players who've recently signed contracts:

Bautista - $8 mill
Youkilis - $12 mill
Votto - $7 mill
Lincecum - $14 mill
Lee- $11 mill

Is Molina worth more than all of these guys?


Yes, a steal. The Cards DID underpay.

For one thing, you mention that Molina's 30. Big deal. This isn't the NFL and we're not talking about a running back. Baseball players are fine at 30... heck, they're in their prime. Molina's age is not at all a concern.

Also the catchers you compared Molina to... Piazza and Mauer; there's no question that right now Molina is worth infinitely more than either of those two. Even in Piazza's prime he was a below-average fielder, and Mauer's prime lasted about two seconds.

As far as the other players you mentioned, none of them are catchers. Apples and oranges, my friend. It's a completely unfair comparison, especially when you consider how skewed the figures you tossed out are...

Bautista's making 14 mil this year, Votto is making 9.5 mil, Lincecum is making 19.5 mil, and Lee is making 21.5 mil this season.

Every one of those players is making considerably more than Molina this year, as Yadier is only bringing home 7 mil. The contract he just signed is an extension, and yes he's getting a raise but those other guys will make more next year as well... not that it matters since none of them are a catcher...

MTC


Molina's extension is 5 years at 75 million. That's 15 million a year. I don't care if he is making 7 million this year. We're talking about his new contract, not his old one.

Ball players age is a actually a concern. When that player is a catcher. The wear and tear on their knees year after year matters. There is no DH in the NL. What happens if and when Molina can't catch as much as he used to? Are you going to sit out a player more and more at that cost?

Catcher's all over the league are laughing right now. Anyone in the realm of Molina will be getting a massive pay upgrade.

Let's look at what some of the top name catchers made last year:

Kendall - 3.75 mill
Suzuki - 3.43 mill
Shoppach - 3 mill
Torrealba - 3 mill
Pierzynski - 2 mill

Now is Molina better than all these guys? Probably. Is he 11 million better? Doubtful. And it sure ain't a steal.

The Cards just made Brian McCann a very very rich man. He's miles ahead of Molina offensively, and is no slouch behind the plate. He's caught a very strong Braves rotation. He made under 7 million last year, so his pay raise is likely to double.


Molina is easily worth the $15 mil the Cards will pay him for the five years following this year.

And the other guys you named comprise a sorry bunch.

You've got Kendall, the 37 year old catcher-for-hire who has hit a total of 14 homers since 2003; Suzuki and his career .258/.318/.388 averages; Kelly Shoppach whose career line is .224/.315/.417, and so on and so forth.

NONE of those guys are Molina's peers. Yadier's value is exponentially more than all of theirs.

And McCann; he's a great hitter for a catcher but he can't throw out a baserunner to save his life. McCann is nowhere near as complete a player as Molina.

Molina showed last year that he can be a complete hitter, even coming up with a few big hits during St. Louis' remarkable postseason run in 2011. His offensive numbers are very good for a catcher but his defense is what truly sets him apart.

He throws out over 40% of would be base stealers, he's the best at picking runners off of first base, he calls an excellent game and is partially responsible for St. Louis always having a top notch rotation.

Molina's is MLBs' most well rounded catcher and St. Louis is lucky to have him.


The crux of this debate comes down to 2 items:

* the definition of the word "steal" when it is applied to contracts

* the production a team will get for the $$ involved

Last year Molina had the best offensive season of his career. Among catchers:

- He was 9th in RBI

- 20th in walks

- 15th in HR

He had a good average, the highest of his lifetime. Does this mean he is worth 5x more than the other catchers in the league?

How about defense?

- 11th in assists

- 5th in fielding runs above avg.

- 24th in runners caught stealing.

- He only threw out 29% of the runners. McCann threw out 22% but Montero threw out 40%. According to you, McCann is a terrible defensive catcher. Well Montero made Molina look like a mediocre catcher last year by that viewpoint.

He was actually -6 in defensive runs saved! By comparison Montero was +6, Wieters was +14 and Ianetta was +7

Looking at the numbers, Molina was not the best catcher in the league "hands down" last year. He doesn't place top 3 in any offensive or defensive stat, other than batting average. That certainly doesn't make him worth 5x the money

Comment #1 has been removed
March 2, 2012  01:09 AM ET

I think for what Mauer is getting paid, it is a solid deal for the Cardinals. The best part of the deal is the mutual sixth year option, which I think Molina's agent dropped the ball on.

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March 2, 2012  02:00 AM ET
QUOTE(#4):

BTW, can you think of a more sudden and complete fall from grace than the one Joe Mauer is currently on?I guess it's possible that he can prove himself to be the player we all thought he was, but honestly at this point he seems like a fragile powerless player with great pitch recognition, nothing more, nothing less.Certainly not worth the $184 million the Twins threw at him a few years ago. It's sad, IMO. Mauer was one of the true rising stars in MLB, one of the faces of the game, a guy who was going to justify Minnesota's new park and revitalize that organization, along with Justin Morneau.And as talented as those two guys are, they just can't stay healthy. At all.And really it seems like the 28 bombs Mauer hit in 2009 were a complete fluke. Dude has ZERO power.Know how many HRs he's hit in the Twins new ballpark?One/. In two seasons worth of at bats, Mr. Mauer has hit exactly ONE home run in that expensive new park. Not exactly The House that Mauer built...

I didn't see it coming. I thought he was going to be the best player in baseball through at least most of that 8-year contract. Must be hard to be a Twins fan and have guys like Mauer and Mornaeu break down on a consistent basis.

Comment #7 has been removed
March 2, 2012  09:10 AM ET
QUOTE(#6):

I didn't see it coming. I thought he was going to be the best player in baseball through at least most of that 8-year contract. Must be hard to be a Twins fan and have guys like Mauer and Mornaeu break down on a consistent basis.

I don't know who it is sadder for, Mauer or Minnesota.

March 2, 2012  10:08 AM ET

I don't share in all the Molina love.

March 2, 2012  11:04 AM ET

Yadier Molina is being paid more than Jose Bautista for the same length deal.

Let that sink in.

March 2, 2012  11:31 AM ET
QUOTE(#9):

I don't share in all the Molina love.

This

March 2, 2012  04:40 PM ET
QUOTE(#10):

Yadier Molina is being paid more than Jose Bautista for the same length deal.Let that sink in.

ya not doubt. not to mention a lot of other great great players. Molina is good, but he's not great

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March 2, 2012  05:32 PM ET
QUOTE(#14):

Let this sink in: Bautista is making 11 million less than Molina on a contract that will expire when he's 36. Molina's contract will expire when he's 35. In the last five years, both players have had an OPS of .740 or more three times - and Molina is a CATCHER. In today's market, if a comparison has to be made between what a power-hitting outfielder makes and what a catcher makes, the money is pretty much spot on.

I see what you're saying, but if we want to use OPS, each of Bautista's last two seasons have been over .995. Molina's best two seasons are .814 and .749.

March 2, 2012  07:03 PM ET
QUOTE(#15):

HOMEWORK: ATRO HATES TO DO IT FOR OTHER PEOPLE

Then don't? simply vote after 2 or 3 arguments and leave it at that. U don't have to do "homework" and you don't have to come across as a total fuccknut when trying to disagree with sum1.

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March 2, 2012  07:23 PM ET
QUOTE(#5):

Off topic, but I don't have any other way to mention this, so...You know what sucks?The fact that Mike Stanton prefers to be called Giancarlo Stanton from now on.I get that it's his real name and all... but ****... first those fruity uniforms, now "Giancarlo"?Where will it end?

the uniforms are definitely horrible....

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