Do Not Extend Yadier Molina

Somebody wrote an idealistic article about how extending Yadier Molina could be a good idea. Unfortunately, this excellent piece needed a sea change in rules and attitudes to work. PEDs will always be verboten in MLB (at least the illegal ones). Even if they were suddenly not against the law, too many old school purists would not accept such an affront to their deeply moral baseball fandom. Plus, John McCain would probably have a heart attack if baseball put its imprimatur on illegal drug use. And let's face it - America can't handle that.

No, Yadi will face ordinary aging curves. And if we're honest, that is not good for Yadi. He's on the wrong side of 34, and despite his resurgent 2016, he is past the point where virtually anybody will be worth a 4-year deal as a starter (which Yadi will insist on being). But according to recent reports, that's exactly what he's seeking - marquee money for old guy performance.

Please understand something. I love Yadi more than you do. I am an expat fan, and fully 95% of what keeps me connected to St. Louis, Missouri is Yadier Molina, gunning somebody down and hitting a few lucky dingers because the guy swings at literally everything that comes his way. Yadi, one of the few guys that was around for the two World Series victories in my self-aware life. Molina, not the one that kind of hung around, but the one that truly excelled in propelling a franchise to perennial victory in an environment which encouraged cyclical badness. Yadier F. Molina, the guy that I have owned on every fantasy team I've ever managed.

That said, if faced with a choice of extending Molina in this preseason or letting him walk, the Cardinals should absolutely let him walk. Yadi is demanding through his proxy, Bengie, that the Cardinals extend him through his age-38 season for "top catcher" money. He's suggested that he is not afraid to walk away if the Cardinals don't extend him the proper amount of respect units. This is selfish and dumb. Yadier Molina is likely to be in very real decline in his age-35 season, and unfit to start more than 50 games by 2019. Extending him four years at market rates for a 31-year-old MVP candidate (which he was, back in 2013!) is a very good recipe for hamstringing a franchise for four years.

As the venerable Craig J. Edwards has noted, Yadi's FA value is unlikely to rise during the coming season. If we can put the brakes on and wait until the 2017-18 offseason to negotiate an extension, we may be able to reach a deal with Yadi which could benefit both sides. But before that point, the Cardinals are unlikely to do anything but hamstring themselves by offering an extension to Yadi, he of the venerable past and the excellent present. His future is unlikely to be anything more than average - why pay him as if he were still a franchise player?