The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have agreed to terms with premier franchise catcher Yadier Molina on a one-year contract for the 2021 season. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Molina, 38, a nine-time Rawlings Gold Glove award winner, four-time Platinum Glove winner and nine-time National League All-Star, has played every game of his career (2004-20) in a Cardinals uniform, totaling 2,025 games over 17 Major League seasons. His 2,025 career games are the most of any catcher for just one team.
“We are pleased to announce that Yadier has agreed to continue his legacy career as a member of the Cardinals, and remain the centerpiece of our team,” said Cardinals’ President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak. “His experience, leadership, work ethic and ability to help bring out the best in those around him are special qualities. We know that there is no one who is more driven than Yadi to get the Cardinals another shot at the title.”
Molina will pass Bob Gibson (17) and move into 2nd this year with 18 seasons played solely for the Cardinals, trailing only Stan Musial’s record 22 seasons. He and Adam Wainwright have paired up in 274 games, ranking 6th all-time in Major League history in games started as battery mates.
Molina has helped lead the Cardinals to the World Series four times (2004, 2006, 2011, 2013) and won World Series Championships in 2006 and 2011. He is currently the active leader in Major League Baseball postseason games played and hits (both 101), the all-time leader among all National League players (6th overall in MLB history) and he has played in more postseasons than any other Cardinal in franchise history with 11.
Among catching leaders, Molina leads all Cardinals and ranks among Major League historical leaders in several categories: 6th in games caught (1,989), starts at catcher (1,923) and innings caught (16,665.0); 4th in pick-offs (51); 2nd in putouts (13,741) and total chances (14,806) and 10th in caught stealing percentage (40.3%).
Molina leads all Cardinals in sacrifice flies (71), ranks 3rd in games played (2,025), 4th in at-bats (7,115) and doubles (381), 6th in hits (2,001), 7th in runs batted in (932) and total bases (2,876), and 10th in home runs (160) and extra base hits (548). On September 24, 2020 Molina became the sixth Cardinals player, and only the 11th primary Major League catcher to record 2,000 career hits.
Yadier was the recipient of the 2018 Roberto Clemente Award, Major League Baseball’s highest service-based honor. Molina’s off-the-field philanthropic efforts includes Foundation 4, his non-profit charity whose mission is to create happier lives and futures for underprivileged children in Puerto Rico. Yadier’s efforts following the 2017 damage done by Hurricane Maria to the island raised over $800,000, as well as his hands-on efforts less than 48 hours following the catastrophic weather ordeal. Molina was also voted the 2015 Darryl Kile Award recipient by his teammates.
Molina was drafted by the Cardinals in the 4th round (113th overall selection) of the 2000 Major League Baseball draft out of Bayamon, Puerto Rico.
Entering the 2021 season, Yadier ranks 13th all-time among native Puerto Rican’s in career batting average (.281) and he is one of just 10 players from his homeland to have reached the 2,000 career hit plateau. Yadi currently stands 13th in RBI (932) among his countrymen and 19th in home runs (160).
Since its inception in 2006, Molina has played in every World Baseball Classic for Puerto Rico, totaling 20 games in the global pre-season tournament, finishing runner-up with the 2017 team, while garnering MVP honors for Pool F.