With catcher Yadier Molina officially being declared a free agent for the first time in his 17-year career, the New York Mets rumors are beginning to swirl.
The free agency period is officially open and New York Mets rumors begin running rampant with speculation. With the Mets largely expected to be buyers in the catching market, we have learned today that longtime nemesis and St Louis catcher Yadier Molina has been in contact with four teams, including his former team in the St. Louis Cardinals. It also has been pointed out that the Mets along with the New York Yankees are two of the teams being heavily involved in the catching market.
Currently, with Mets rumors being connected to about every available catcher on the market, it’s fair to wonder if Yadier Molina is an actual fit for the current ballclub. It has been previously stated that both Molina and another longtime rival in right-handed pitcher Adam Wainwright had considered themselves a package deal for any team interested in either player this offseason.
While both players could potentially fill a current need for the team, I’m curious as to how much each player may have left in the tank for a full 162 game campaign in 2021 with Molina at 38 years of age and Wainwright at 39 years of age on Opening Day. Package deal aside, Molina may be looking for a two-year contract to finish out his career and he certainly would be a cheaper option than free-agent target J.T. Realmuto.
In 42 games played for the Cardinals this past season, Molina had a .262/.303/.359 slash line to go along with a .662 OPS. Piggybacking off of those offensive numbers, Molina also had four home runs with 16 RBI’s, which can be argued isn’t much of an upgrade offensively for the Mets. While defensively Molina committed an uncharacteristic five errors in only 42 games played, his arm behind the plate still looks as good as ever as he threw out 45% of the runners who tried to swipe a base under his nose.
In Yadier Molina, the Mets would be bringing in a longtime rival who could come in and provide leadership and experience to a ballclub ready to take their talents to the next level. He also is still regarded as one of the best defensive catchers in the game and is highly respected among the pitchers he has worked with throughout his career.
Looking at the other side of the argument, there is no denying that Molina has had a great overall career and is a future Hall of Famer with all of his accomplished credentials but he is now on the wrong side of 30. Offensively Molina seems to be on a steady decline, as he is not a significant power threat with the bat and he has always been prone to struggling to draw walks and especially get on base, as evidence by his .303 on-base-percentage in 2020.
I believe Molina should simply be part of the Mets contingency plan at catcher, and nothing more at this point. With J.T. Realmuto and James McCann currently available on the open market, those are the two catchers that should be atop of the Mets wish list if they are looking for a significant upgrade behind the plate this winter in free agency.
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This is one of the many Mets rumors we will hear about as the offseason has just begun, so buckle in and get ready for a wild ride on our way to Port St. Lucie in February.