ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 28: Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates after hitting a single in the fourth inning during Game Seven of the MLB World Series against the Texas Rangers at Busch Stadium on October 28, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Earlier today, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wrote a blog post with the latest on the negotiations between the St. Louis Cardinals and their Gold Glove catcher Yadier Molina. In the post, Rosenthal offered that the two sides were nearing a deal that would likely be four or five years in length and worth between $10 and $12 million annually. Included as well was this quote from Molina's agent Melvin Roman:
"We are making progress and hopefully can work something out."
In the wake of the Rosenthal report, Joe Strauss chimed in this afternoon via Twitter.
Expect resolution to Molina extension by Friday. Both sides very optimistic. Terms all but finalized.— Joe Strauss (@JoeStrauss) February 27, 2012
This evening, Rosenthal has taken to Twitter to echo Strauss's tweet and provide some additional grist for the rumor mill. It seems the deal may be much larger than initially thought.
This caused my eyebrows to rise. North of $60 million is one thing; $75 million is something else entirely. While a $60 million deal over five years would mean an annual average value of $12 million, a five-year deal worth $75 million would mean an eye-popping AAV of $15 million. A $60 million contract over five years would reflect the high end of Rosenthal's initial reporting on the contracts parameters while $75 million would be significantly higher.
As Rosenthal notes, only six catchers in the history of the game have ever received a contract with an AAV over $10 million. They are Joe Mauer, Mike Piazza, Jason Kendell, Jorge Posada, Ivan Rodriguez, and Jason Varitek. We all expected Molina to join this club of catcher Ten-Millionaires. For Molina to join the Fifteen-Millionaires club, however, would be fairly surprising to everyone except Jeff Gordon.
As we await the other shoe to drop, we should keep in mind that this extension will likely swallow the final year of his current deal, Molina's age 29 season, and last through his age 33 season (if it is, indeed, five years in term). There is also the reality that catcher defense is the final frontier of sabermetrics with skills like framing pitches and managing pitching staffs either unqualified or not considered in current formulas for catcher WAR. If we accept current methods of valuing catcher defense as the floor, a $15 million AAV may be a fair approximation of Molina's value.
Ken Rosenthal has just tweeted the range of the Molina contract amount.
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