Report: Yankees inquiring about future Hall of Fame catcher Yadier Molina

Yadier Molina, New York Yankees
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For years, Yadier Molina has been one of the game’s most valuable catchers. His defensive contributions have been crucial to a couple of St. Louis Cardinals championships, and he carries a passable stick (if we consider his defensive prowess) even at 38 years old. The New York Yankees, with the struggling Gary Sanchez and a career backup in Kyle Higashioka, could be interested in upgrading at the position, and the veteran free agent backstop could provide an alternative.

To be clear, the New York Yankees haven’t shown any signs of wanting to upgrade the position. Sanchez, a career 117 wRC+ hitter who slumped all the way to 69 this season, lost his starting gig during the playoffs but still carries tremendous offensive potential.

However, fans and even some media circles have speculated that the Yankees could explore dealing the All-Star catcher. If that’s the case, Molina could make sense as an alternative. He clearly knows how to call a game and has championship pedigree.

Should the Yankees be interested?

Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported on Thursday that Molina “has received calls with interest” from the Yankees, Mets, and three or four other teams. Make no mistake: the Cards are viewed as the favorites to get his services, and he has stated a desire of retiring with that uniform. But he will likely explore all deals before making a decision.

Molina is said to want a two-year contract. With the current market conditions, it doesn’t appear likely that he gets an extremely lucrative deal given his age, but he has won nine Gold Gloves and is still an above-average defensive catcher. The Yankees could certainly benefit from having him around, but it would depend on the cost.

During the 2020 season, he slashed .262/.303/.359 with four home runs over 42 games. For his career, he carries a .281/.333/.404 slash line with a .321 wOBA and a 99 wRC+. He is eight years removed from his best season, which came in 2012: .315/.373/.501, a .375 wOBA, a 138 wRC+, 22 home runs and a 7.7 fWAR.

Chances are that Molina will return to St. Louis when all is said and done, but if you are the Yankees, it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask.