A year ago at this time, the St. Louis Cardinals held a news conference to discuss why they were unable to complete a long-term contract for first baseman Albert Pujols.
Everyone knows how that story ended - Pujols signed a 10-year, $240 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels. But the Cardinals' talks are proceeding more smoothly this spring with another of their All-Star position players, catcher Yadier Molina.
“We are making progress and hopefully we can work something out,” Molina’s agent, Melvin Roman, said Monday.
Molina, 29, is eligible for free agency at the end of the season. The Cardinals likely are willing to give him a deal of four and possibly five years, sources say.
Only six catchers have signed long-term deals with salaries that exceeded $10 million per season – Joe Mauer, Mike Piazza, Jason Kendall, Jorge Posada, Ivan Rodriguez and Jason Varitek.
Molina, coming off a career-best offensive season, is virtually certain to join that list, with a salary in the $10 million to $12 million range. He batted .305/.349/.465 last season with a career-high 14 homers.
In addition, Molina won the Platinum Glove, an award voted by fans to the best overall defender in the National League. Lastt but not least, he was the catcher for the Cardinals’ World Series championship teams in 2006 and ’11.
— Ken Rosenthal