ST. LOUIS, Mo- After an offseason of conjecture based in part on cryptic Instagram posts by the player, the St. Louis Cardinals have reportedly reached a one-year contract with free agent Yadier Molina, ensuring an 18th major league season in St. Louis for the catcher.
Our news partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and national writers like Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic and FOX Sports, reported the deal was close before Molina posted an Instagram video Monday night saying, “I’m Back”. The club then tweeted that a deal had been reached, with details to come Tuesday.
The Cardinals went into the offseason saying the team’s priority was to find a way to bring back Molina and pitcher Adam Wainwright, generational battery mates bound at least for the franchise immortality.
The free agent market has been a slow dance this winter, as teams take stock of lost revenue in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic while trying to consider the parameters of a 2021 payroll. In Yadier Molina’s case, the market waited first to see if the Yankees would non-tender Gary Sanchez in December, adding to a well of available catching talent that already included James McCann and JT Realmuto.
The Yankees kept Sanchez, the Mets spent Steve Cohen’s money on McCann and Realmuto re-signed in Philadelphia over the last two months, taking some of the most well-heeled suitors out of the Molina derby.
As January turned to February, the speed of the Cardinals’ offseason activity changed significantly, with Wainwright’s deal to return followed quickly by the blockbuster announcement that St. Louis was acquiring Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado. At the same time, reports emerged from our news partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and others that Molina was expected to re-sign after the Caribbean Series, where he was playing for Puerto Rico.
That tournament wrapped up over the weekend, paving the way to put the finishing touches on the deal.