Originally written on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 11/15/14

The St Louis Cardinals and catcher Yadier Molina are reportedly coming close to reaching an agreement on a contract extension that is expected to run for five years. The money has been rumored at between $60 and $75 million for the life of the contract, which would be betwen $12 and $15 million a season.

Joe Mauer has the highest average value of a contract for a catcher of all-time, making $23 million a season from 2011 to 2018. The second highest is Jorge Posada at $13.1 million, which he made on his contract from the 2009 to 2011 season. Molina could be the second highest paid catcher of all-time. Think about that for a minute: Chris Iannetta and Brian McCann will be free agents after 2013 (assuming their options are picked up), Mike Napoli and Miguel Montero will be free agents after this season, and there are a host of young catchers still under arbitration control....and they're all going to get insane contracts because a guy like Molina is going to be making eight figures a year.

Molina has this reputation among the talking heads on TV of an elite catcher. Here are the facts: he has a career .708 OPS, he's hit double digit homers in a season just once (2011), he has just two 3 fWAR seasons in his seven full seasons in the majors, and he turns 30 this July. Why is this the type of guy you're looking to give $75 million? 

Since 2005, Molina's first full season, he is seventh among all catchers in fWAR and 22nd (out of 33 catchers with at least 1500 plate appearances) in wOBA, behind such luminaries as career backups Josh Bard and Gregg Zaun, the recently retired Jason Varitek and Bengie Molina, and Kenji Johjima, who was so terrible in America that he left to go back to Japan with years still remaning in his contract. Yet, Molina is getting five years at eight figures per season. It's lunacy. Even if you look at just the last four seasons, Molina is still 11th among all catchers in wOBA. Catcher defense can't be that important, can it? For the record, Molina ranked eighth on Beyond the Box Score's advanced catcher defense ratings for 2011, with five of the seven players ahead of him in the rankings crushing him offensively too.

This is insanity. Combine this potential extension with the mishandling of the Albert Pujols situation, and John Mozeliak has not had the finest offseason in the Cardinals front office. Luckily, the team has won two championships in six seasons, so he'll get a lot of extra slack. At this rate, he'll use that extra slack to wrap around his neck a couple more times.


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