At last check, Yadier Molina’s fun romp through free agency – the first of his career, at age 38 – was still pointing back to the only team he’s ever known.
Despite a “ridiculous” initial offer, and the need to feel “appreciation,” the last word was that a reunion with the St. Louis Cardinals was “approaching inevitable.” It has always felt to me like Molina’s tour of the baseball world was about getting the Cardinals to add a second year to their offer – giving Molina two more seasons before retirement – rather than him actually trying to get some big two-year deal from one of the many other pursuers his agent was happy to tell the world about.
I still feel that way, and that’s especially true after Molina dropped a “retirement” reference in a recent interview.
“Getting ready as always and God will tell,” Molina said in an interview with Cardinals broadcaster Polo Ascensio set to run Thursday at noon St. Louis time on La Vida Baseball’s Facebook page, per the Post-Distpatch. “If God wants me to come back, then I’ll come back. And if not I will retire happy with my head held high.”
That’s just something you say, right? Maybe something you say when the place you really want to go is still not stepping up with that second year? And maybe no other teams are stepping up with a two-year offer yet, either, so you’re kinda up against it? And thus “retirement” is the only card left to pull?
I’m just speculating and reading the room based on all the rumors about Molina and the Cardinals this offseason. I also can’t see Molina retiring, because he clearly still has a passion for the game and the ability to contribute to a big league team, even if in a part-time role. The market is slow as heck, and Spring Training is just a month away, but he’ll get a decent offer one way or another.
It remains impossible for me to see him actually going elsewhere, but, if he does – be it another team or into retirement – it’s going to sting the Cardinals in some ways that go far beyond the back of his baseball card:
While not in these exact, precise words, some Cardinals have expressed a similar sentiment. https://t.co/dABjpoBe1j
— Derrick S. Goold (@dgoold) January 14, 2021