Yadier Molina now open to playing for team other than Cardinals
Yadier Molina has spent his entire 16-year career with the St. Louis Cardinals, and he told reporters over the winter that the only way he will continue to play in 2021 is if the team wants him back. However, Molina is now committed to playing beyond this season, and he is willing to do it in a different uniform if need be.
Molina, who will turn 38 in July, told ESPN’s Marly Rivera this week that the pandemic has “changed everything” for him and he is thinking about playing another two years. He acknowledged that he said back in January that he would retire if the Cardinals don’t re-sign him, but that is no longer Molina’s mindset.
“Obviously, St. Louis is my first option. But if they don’t sign me, then I’m willing to go into free agency,” he said. “This situation has changed my mentality and all I want to do is play.”
The 1,947 games Molina has caught with the Cardinals are the most games a player has ever caught with a single franchise in MLB history. While he would love for St. Louis to sign him to an extension, he is no longer willing to let the team’s interest in re-signing him dictate when he calls it a career. He knows the market may not be vast for a 38-year-old catcher, but Molina said a potentially shortened 2020 season could benefit him physically.
“I had in mind that if St. Louis didn’t sign me, I would retire after this season, at 38. With this situation, obviously, we probably won’t have a chance to play a full season; we may not be able to play a lot of games,” Molina said. “I think it will feel like unfinished business. Any player that says that they’re not going through a difficult time and not worried about what the 2020 season will look like, is lying.”
It’s hard to envision Molina playing for any team other than the Cardinals. He proved during the playoffs last year that he is still as enthusiastic as ever about playing, and he has been a leader in St. Louis for many years now. We would be surprised if the two sides were unable to work something out.