St. Louis Cardinals fans are holding their breath in 2020. Their legendary catcher, Yadier "Yadi" Molina's current contract comes to a close at the end of the coming season. However, earlier in this off-season, reportedly, Molina made it known he wants to stick around. At least the thought of retirement is not quite 'real' at the end of 2020. He wants to remain with the Cardinals should he decide another two seasons is a part of his future and; his one, and only, team since he made his debut, June 3, 2004.
At the age of 37 (turns 38 in July), Yadi Molina has been backstop in 1947 games, has made 1881 game starts, logging 16327.2 innings during his 16 year career. He is a five-time MVP contender, nine-time All Star, nine-time Gold Glove award winner, with one Silver Slugger award (2013/.319 BA/12 HR/80 RBI/44-2B). He holds a career .282 BA with 2824 total bases to his credit. He currently sits seventh in the MLB All Time Best Catcher list.
Throughout his career, yes as many players, he has dealt with injury of the legs, knee (no surprise) and hand. Probably the most famous (2018) which made every male baseball fan wince - injury to his groin area from a foul-tip on a missile (102 mph) delivered by young flame thrower, Cardinals reliever Jordan Hicks. A very scary moment for Cardinals Nation and team, as Molina required emergency surgery immediately following the incident. But, recovery went well and, hard to keep an old goat down, he returned to the field.
In 2019, he played in only 113 games, due to a thumb injury which put him on the 10-Day IL and regular days off (7 days). As backstop, he logged 108 game starts in those minimal number of games. At the plate, Molina closed his season with 113 hits for a .270 BA/10 HR/57 RBI/24-2B. He holds a career .282 BA. And he began the season, adding a new record in the Cardinals history book. "On Opening Day 2019, versus the Brewers, Molina extended his team-record for Opening Day starts with 15". (Wikipedia.com) Also, "He made his first career appearance at third base in extra innings of a 6−5 win on April 1 versus the Pirates."
MOLINA ~ THE PLAYER OF BASEBALL WEALTH - PLAYER KNOWLEDGE
In my opinion, along with most if not all Cardinals fans, the most impressive part of Molina's baseball life is that he studies each and every player, pitchers and position, both Cardinals and whomever they are playing. He studies videos to best guide his own pitchers against whomever comes to the plate. He is the manager on the field - 'moving' Cardinals defenders when need be - with look - a sign from behind the plate. Eagle-eyes constantly monitoring base runners. Waiting for the opportunity to retire a runner at second ~ and some amazing outs at third. Not to mention, his readiness to glove an incoming throw from the field for the out at "home'. Yes, he has been nominated in the MLB-MVP category in years past. But he is, hands down, St. Louis Cardinals MVP, leader and teammate.
NOW ~ WHO WILL SUCCEED MOLINA AND HOW SOON?
Since the Cardinals traded prospect catcher Carson Kelly, in a package deal, with the Arizona Diamondbacks for 1B Paul Goldschmidt in Dec 2018, prospect catcher Andrew Knizner (24) was being groomed in the 'wings'. However, Cardinals extended Molina two more seasons. To keep playing time available for Knizner, he began 2019 with the Memphis Triple-A. While with the Redbirds in 2019, he held a .276/.357/.463/.821 slashline, along with a .990 Fldg% as catcher.