The Padres are one of a handful of ballclubs to have reportedly expressed interest in the free-agent catcher, Yadier Molina.
San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Preller remains busy, even though the holidays, with reports that the franchise has expressed interest in Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina.
The 38-year-old is officially an unrestricted free agent after St. Louis re-signed him to a three-year after the 2017 campaign.
Molina broke in with the Cardinals during the 2004 season and has been a mainstay behind the plate ever since. He made his preference of remaining with St. Louis next year and potentially beyond. But the Padres, along with the Yankees, Mets, and Angels, make have a stronger case to sign him.
From a Padres’ perspective, adding Molina makes sense but in what capacity remains unclear. Austin Nola, who was acquired at the trade deadline, showed remarkable improvement in throwing runners out in San Diego compared to Seattle. He figures to be the starting catcher heading into the 2021 season, but the Padres could use a veteran like Molina to backup Nola.
The depth at catcher is questionable at best. Francisco Mejia was expected to play a much larger role, but his bat became a liability before the front office ultimately optioned him to the team’s alternate training site. Luis Campusano played in only game, launching a laser solo home run down the right-field line. But his offseason arrest leaves much in doubt about his status, and he’s likely not in the best standing with the Padres’ front office right now.
— MLB Trade Rumors (@mlbtraderumors) November 27, 2020
Molina is a seven-time Gold Glove catcher with a career .281 average in 17 big league seasons. Nola’s versatility to play multiple positions is an added bonus that could attract Molina to sign with the Padres, should the Cardinals ultimately move on. Of the other teams who have shown interest, the Yankees would be the next best option if Molina wants another ring.
Of course, expectations are enormous in San Diego, after the team made the postseason for the first time since 2006. Every team needs that veteran player to provide a steady presence in the clubhouse. The Padres’ clubhouse is fairly young, and adding Molina could have a positive impact on the team’s pitching staff.
Molina is an excellent game manager. He’s a smart baseball player, and his longevity in the league proves it. It remains unclear if Molina is looking for a one or two-year deal, but he should be a relatively inexpensive signing.