New York Yankees: Previous Yankee target Yadier Molina may hang up his cleats

Yadier Molina, New York Yankees
Sep 24, 2020; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (4) celebrates after hitting a single off of Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Justin Topa (not pictured) for his 2,000 hit of his career during the seventh inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees entered the offseason with many decisions to make to improve the team. Two of those decisions were made relatively quickly. The Yankees made it a priority to re-sign the second baseman and hitting champ DJ LeMahieu (so far unsuccessfully). They also had to decide what to do with their slumping catcher Gary Sanchez. When it came time to tender him a contract, they did. He will earn nearly $6 million this year. However, he will be the Yankees starting catcher, although backup catcher Kyle Higashioka will also see his share of games. Halfway through the 2020 season, he became ace Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher.

After Gary’s miserable season, for Yankee fans, there was much speculation that the team might move on from Sanchez, after hoping his defense would improve over the last few years. With a .147 batting average, he wasn’t adding any offense in the lineup. Surely the Yankees considered R.T Realmuto, James McCann, and Yadier Molina, although Molina was probably the only option. Realmuto was demanding a six-figure contract, and McCann went with the New York Mets. Molina had ties to the Yankees as his brother Jose played at the Stadium from 2007 to 2009 and took home a World Series ring.

The Molina brothers Jose, Benjie, and Yadier were the greatest catching family in baseball over the years. All became stars with their respective teams. Yadier has spent his entire 17-year career with the St. Louis Cardinals being an All-Star, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove catcher many of those years.

After the 2020 season, Molina’s contract was up, and the Cards chose not to take up his $12 million option for 2021 in a cost-cutting move. So far, he is holding out for a $10 million one-year deal but were prefer a two-year deal. His main suiters were the Washington Nationals and the New York Yankees. Had the Yankees held off on the Sanchez contract, they probably could have gotten the 101 postseason game veteran on a two year $15 million-plus contract. Compared to Sanchez’s $6 million, that would have been a tremendous upgrade at the backstop. But the Yankees chose to continue to have faith in Sanchez.

Now, after seventeen years and no contract being offered, one of the best catchers in all of baseball is considering retirement. Now, if he can’t get a two-year contract with preferable the Cards, he will hang up his cleats. He recently told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he is getting ready to walk away. In an interview with Cardinals broadcaster Polo Ascensio set to run Thursday at noon today, he said:

“If God wants me to come back, then I’ll come back. And if not I will retire happy with my head held high.”

Yadier is the last of the Molina brothers still pitching. Brother Benjie retired as a Ranger in 2010, and brother Jose retired as a Tampa Bay Ray after 2014. Yadier was the best hitter of the three, with a .281 batting average. If Yadier does, in fact, hang up the cleats, it will the end of an era when the brothers dominated the catching scene.