When the 2020 season ended for the Cardinals, fans were waiting to announce that beloved members Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright would be retained. They waited a week, two weeks, and nothing. the only thing coming from the Front Office was, "We hope to reach an agreement with both." HOPE TO???.... What do you mean hope to? Some fans clamored, "How do you not retain team Icons?" Especially Molina, the player who is most recognizable by fans? The player who the majority of fans think the commandment Thou shall not steal was made for? John Mozeliak took daily heat for "lack of action." then reports surfaced that the Cardinal initial off was ridiculous. This set off another firestorm. Then more reports of other teams that were interested in the catcher's services. OUR catcher's services. Fans became mixed. If not Yadi, then who. Attention was focused on Andrew Knizner presumed "next up."
Some questions arose about whether or not Knizner was ready for full-season MLB duty. They questioned his overall defense and hitting ability. In 2019 Kinzner was brought up to fill in as a backup to Matt Wieters when Yadi went down with an injury played 16 games a catcher, starting 13 of them. Overall he had ABs going .226/.293/.377 with 2 HRs and 7 RBIs
last year. He caught in 7 games, starting 4 of them. Going .250/.235/.313 0 HRs 4 RBIs defensively his Fld% is average. His RDS was not good, with a -3 in 2019 and a 0 last year. This is one reason why Yadi was needed this season but, more on that in a minute. The small sample size coupled with fans' impatience led many to look elsewhere to other Free Agents on the market. Such as
JT Realmuto. James McCann Wilson Ramos
All three have been spoken as a Molina replacement by fans. Some afraid/convinced that St. Louis would not be willing to pull the trigger on Molina. Some fans were upset with Molina for what they presumed a greedy attitude. Then they started falling off the board. First was James McCann on December 13, 2020. Wilson Ramos signed a deal on January 27, 2021, Realmuto signed with the Phillies on January 29, 2021. Fans felt angst and criticism was high on the front office. Then February 9, 2021, The Cardinals announced they signed the longtime Cardinal to a one-year deal worth 9 million dollars. Believe it or not, the reaction was mixed, some even saying that St Louis overpaid! However, many Cardinal fans have big smiles on their faces, and for a VERY GOOD REASON.
I mentioned before this is a good thing, and here is why.
Optics - Molina has been with St.Louis since he was drafted in 2000. One month shy of his 18th birthday.
While his game may have lost a step, he can still perform at a more than adequate level as a catcher. The last three years before 2020, he was slashing in the neighborhood of .265/.313/.420 with an average war of 1.6
Defensively still fielding at a high percentage .999 and throwing runners out at about a .30% clip.
Experience is a good teacher, and Yadi has a wealth of knowledge to show Kinzer. As it stands now, Andrew will be Yadi's back up.
You do not let a 20-year icon go unless there is just no other way. Yadi is undoubtedly a Hall of Famer(in my book). Having his entire career with the same club for over 20 years is a testament to both player and club.