I don’t know if they traded notes, but this certainly seems like Yadier Molina took a page out of Albert Pujols’ handbook here.
Melvin Roman, the agent for Molina, came in to camp today and he brought some thunder with him. Today he announced that him and his client will not engage in contract talks during the 2012 campaign.
“Once the season starts he’s just going to concentrate on the game, play hard to win every game and try to bring another championship to the city.” Roman said. “After the season I’m sure we would probably still discuss things.
Both Yadi and the club have expressed desires to keep the relationship together. Molina said earlier in the week that, despite loving the city and the fans, if the price isn’t right he’ll go, if it is, he’ll stay. This may be hard for a die-hard Molina fan, but I for one love his honesty and the way he’s handled the situation. After all; it is a business.
You’d have to think that this strategy is about the money and not baseball. By not negotiating during the year it pretty much guarantees Yadi will be able to test the market, unless a deal is reached in Spring Training. By testing the market this presents the same problem for the Cardinals that arose during the Pujols talks:
It only takes one team.
One team to take a big risk and sweep Molina off his feet with a big money offer. An offer the Cardinals can’t compete with and we already saw that exact thing happen with Pujols.
However, Melvin Roman also represents Jaime Garcia. The Cardinals and them worked out an extension for Garcia during the 2011 season with no issues. With this in mind, you’d have to think that the two parties are in good terms attitude wise, but when you’re dealing with agents, who knows.
Unlike Pujols, this isn’t a situation where the Cardinals can just let him walk. There is no solid backup plan and if the team did loose Yadi, they would likely dab into the free agent pool to find his successor.
The Cardinals may see Tony Cruz as a potential replacement as well. If they do go into the season without an extension you may see Cruz get more starts than a normal backup would, in order to groom him into a potential starter. The Cardinals did this with Molina himself when it was Mike Matheny’s “walk year” and look how it turned out. Comparing Cruz to Molina may be a bit unfair, but certainly something to keep in mind.
But for now let’s hold up on the replacement talks. After all, the guy isn’t even gone yet!
Thanks for reading.
If the Cardinals’ 2011 season was the batman of craziness, then the following offseason was Robin.
The offseason was so crazy you may have forgotten everything that happened. Fear not, as here is a list of all the major things that happened in this crazy offseason, in no particular order.
- Cardinals win 2011 World Series in 7 games vs. Rangers
- Two days later Tony La Russa retires
- Backup catcher Gerrald Laird signs with the Tigers
- Mike Matheny is hired as manager
- Albert Pujols signs with the Angels
- Nick Punto signs with the Red Sox
- Jeff Luhnow is named new Astros’ GM (formerly Cardinals’ Director of Pro Scouting)
- Cardinals sign six-time all-star Carlos Beltran
- Cardinals sign ex-Cub, catcher Koyie Hill to minor league deal
- Cardinals sign veteran left-handed reliever J.C. Romero
- Dan Kantrovitz is hired as Director of Pro Scouting (replacing Luhnow)
- Cardinals sign Rafael Furcal to two-year deal
- Ryan Theriot signs with the Giants
- Cardinals sign Jason Motte to one year deal
- Cardinals sign relief pitcher Scott Linebrink
The Cardinals coaching staff is notably different with only two returning coaches (Mark McGwire & Jose Oquendo). Here’s a look at where everyone went:
- First base coach Dave McKay and bench coach Joe Pettini relieved of their duties
- Former AAA Memphis manager Chris Maloney replaces McKay
- Former AAA Memphis hitting coach and assistant MLB hitting coach Mike Aldrete replaces Pettini
- Cubs hire to Dave McKay to same position
- Astros hire Joe Pettini to same position
- Former Cardinal John Mabry is hired by his old team as assistant hitting coach
- Dave Duncan takes indefinite leave of absence (When/if he will return is unknown although we know it won’t be in 2012)
- Bullpen coach Derek Lilliquist named Duncan’s successor
- Dyar Miller replaces Lilliquist as bullpen coach
Like I said, what a crazy offseason, but finally the best 8 words have been spoken: Pitchers and catchers have reported to Spring Training.
Baseball’s back. We missed you.
Thanks for reading.
What sometimes goes unlooked in the Cardinals’ magical 2011 season is the fact that Yadier Molina lead the team in hitting. Not Holliday, not Pujols, not Berkman. Molina.
2012 is a big year for Molina, being that it’s his “walk” year. Molina is on the tail end of a five-year deal which means, after this year, he’s a free agent.
Molina is coming off his best offensive year hitting .305, with 14 home runs, and knocked in 65 runs. Yadi is a part of a core group of players that lead the Cardinals clubhouse, but that may not be for long. In my opinion if the Cardinals don’t get an extension with him during the season, then he’s a goner. The Cards have exclusive negotiating rights with him until five days after the World Series when he hits the free agent market.
There’s a surplus of teams needing a catcher and just like we saw with Pujols it only takes one. One team to go crazy for him and offer a number the Cardinals can’t compete with.
One school of thought is that Yadi is already bitter with the organization after his best friend Pujols wasn’t signed back. If they refuse to negotiate during the year (like Albert did) then that could be a big indicator that he wants out.
If Yadi does sign elsewhere, it isn’t the end of the world. The Cardinals have two promising catchers in Tony Cruz and Bryan Anderson. If they don’t want to make one of them there starting catcher then there’s also going to be a big class of catchers hitting the market they can pick from.
Yadi, who has been taking some recent heat from fans, also has a fairly big fan base. I don’t fall in to either boat. I respect his game, but not the biggest fan of his character. If you are one of his biggest fans, I have this to say to you: Just because he’s good and is one of the faces of the franchise, doesn’t, by any means, guarantee he’ll work something out and stay in St. Louis. We already saw this scenario play out once.
Thanks for reading.
Matt Adams has been a top prospect in the Cardinals organization for a couple of years now. He’ll certainly have a good MLB career, but I just don’t think it’ll be with the Cardinals.
Adams has absolutely steamrolled over AAA pitching. Last year at AAA Memphis, Adams hit. 300, with 32 home runs, and knocked in 101 runs. Those are MVP caliber stats right there.
Adams has long been a victim of MLB depth at first base. Not that that’s a bad thing for the Cardinals, but it is for Adams. It’s hard for a first basemen to get his call to the majors when there’s a guy named Albert Pujols in his position.
Now that Pujols is gone Adams is certainly lined up for a starting MLB job soon, right?
First off, six-time all-star Lance Berkman is signed through 2013 so if he stays healthy that keeps Adams away from a starting job for another 2 years and then you have Allen Craig and David Freese.
Craig, who really came out of no where in the 2011 campaign, could be a future first basemen as well. In fact, many people think he’s the Cardinals first basemen of the future. He’ll be Berkman’s back up at 1b when he’s healthy again. If Craig can continue to produce it is likely he’ll swoop in and steal the 1b job away from Adams.
David Freese also has the making of a first basemen. Freese’s defense at third has been a little shaky which is why a move to first base could be in the future for him too. A Freese switch to first would also make a spot for third base prospect Matt Carpenter at his natural position.
A position change for Adams is a possibility, but not likely. For one, Adams doesn’t really want to switch positions himself. Also, the likely position to switch to would be third and as I said earlier that’s clogged up by Freese and Matt Carpenter.
I think there is a slim chance that Adams makes the big league club out of spring training considering there’s not going to be a true first basemen to back Berkman up for the first couple weeks as Craig nurses his injured knee. If this happens and Adams does considerably well coming off the bench it could force the Cards to find him a spot in the big leagues.
I think a lot of teams would be interested in Adams. Teams that maybe lack organizational depth at 1b or just want to invest in a future star, which Adams definitely is. Plus, just imagine what you could get for him.
It’s too early to tell who exactly, would be interested, but I still think an Adams trade is something the Cardinals should consider and in my opinion, something they should do.
Thanks for reading.