Repeating a stance that he took into contract negotiations a year ago, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina said he has three more years on his contract and three more years of playing.
"Three more years, and that's it," Molina said.
The Cardinals catcher attended Day 3 of the team's Winter Warm-up and after signing autographs for two hours he spent some time with the media and talked about returning to Puerto Rico, visiting Venezuela, having Marcell Ozuna in the lineup, getting more from Brett Cecil and Carlos Martinez, and counting on Adam Wainwright.
He was also asked, after managing a youth team for Puerto Rico in the World Cup this year, if he wanted to be a manager after his playing career was over.
That's when he brought up the plan to leave the game after his current contract ends. Molina starts a three-year, $60-million deal this season. He agreed to the extension this past spring, and he said at the time that it would be the last contract he signed.
It allows him to spend his entire career with the Cardinals.
Molina, 35, debuted in 2004 and he's won eight Gold Gloves with the team. Manager Mike Matheny and executive John Mozeliak have often talked about how Molina, when he's out to lead the league in innings caught, is working on "his legacy." What they mean by that is burnishing his resume for possible election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Molina is considered one of the finest catchers of his generation, and with three more years of production he'll retire as the most productive and decorated catcher in Cardinals history.
Asked what he intends to do after three years, he said he would likely spend more time with his family.
He did not dismiss the idea of trying to manage at some point.
He reconsidered when told it requires talking to the media at least once a day.
He did so with a smile.
Molina's comments further add to a shrinking window for this group of Cardinals to return to the postseason and win the franchise's 12 championship. Wainwright is entering the final year of his contract. Michael Wacha and Ozuna have two more years of control before they can become free agents. Molina and Matt Carpenter have contracts that expire beyond that, after 2020.
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