Report: Yadier Molina Likely to Become 2nd-Highest-Paid Catcher in MLB History

Ryan Bothmann@tripleCfanSenior Analyst IIFebruary 28, 2012

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 28: Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals stands on the field during Game Seven of the MLB World Series against the Texas Rangers at Busch Stadium on October 28, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Cardinals did not roll the dice this offseason on free agent slugger Albert Pujols, but it appears the team is willing to take a chance on a big contract with catcher Yadier Molina.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Monday that Molina and the Cardinals are "close to an agreement" that is estimated to be worth around $75 million over the next five seasons.

With this contract, Molina would be making around $15 million each year with the Cardinals, which would make him the second-highest-paid catcher in MLB history, behind only Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins.

Mauer signed and eight-year deal worth a reported $184 million back in 2010, which made him the highest-paid catcher in baseball history.

The deal would also make Molina only the third catcher in MLB history to be making more than $10 million per season, and the seventh to be making at least $10 million per season.

Molina is considered one of the best catchers in baseball right now, if not one of the greatest the game has ever seen. Yadi has been known mostly for his defense throughout his career, as he has won the Gold Glove in the National League for each of the past four seasons and even won the inaugural Platinum Glove this year for best defensive player in the entire National League.

Although his defense has been outstanding, Molina has at times been known to have a shaky bat.

Molina has a lifetime batting average of .274, but he has greatly improved his offensive numbers as he lead the Cardinals team this year with a .305 average. Molina also hit a career-high 14 home runs and drove in a career-high 65 RBI this season. Molina's slugging percentage and OPS were also by far the highest of his career in 2011.

There was some speculation in St. Louis that Molina, a fan favorite in the city, could walk away after this season and join Albert Pujols in Los Angeles. The two had a strong friendship in St. Louis, and it seemed like it could be a good fit for both Molina and the Angels.

Since Molina is such a fan favorite in St. Louis, it would be a great move for the Cardinals to lock him up for the rest of his career. The three-time All-Star still has lots to contribute to the game of baseball, and it appears he will be making those contributions as a member of the Cardinals.