Yadier Molina Willing to Leave in Free-Agency

Hayden See, Reporter

Yadier Molina may not be a St. Louis Cardinal in 2021.

The decorated catcher recently made comments to ESPN, saying that the COVID-19 situation has changed his view on his free-agency. In January at the Cardinals’ Winter Warmup, he said that if St. Louis did not want him, he would retire — the sentiment has changed; Molina is willing to leave the Cardinals if they do not offer him a sufficient contract, as he wants to play two more seasons in the MLB.

This situation puts St. Louis between a rock and a hard place; on one hand Molina is a staple to Cardinals nation, but on the other hand, his prolonged desire to play — despite his waning talents — have not benefited the team. For example, his recent three-year extension he received, forced the Cardinals to move top-prospect Carson Kelly. Granted St. Louis was able to receive Paul Goldschmidt, the loss of Kelly weighs heavily, especially now. Having a young budding catcher in Kelly is much more desirable than possessing a 37-year old heavily declining backstop.

Putting feelings aside, retaining Molina past the 2020 season for a contract amount anywhere near his current annual salary is just abhorrent. With the overpriced contracts of Dexter Fowler and Matt Carpenter already on the payroll, an overpaid Molina would further just tie the Cardinals’ hands in terms of payroll flexibility. Giving Andrew Knizner time behind the plate instead of a catcher nearing 40-years old seems obvious.

Though he has been the face of the Cardinals for many years, the Cardinals should not feel forced to retain Molina if it means hindering their future.