JUPITER, FL - The St. Louis Cardinals today announced the signing of All-Star catcher Yadier Molina to a new five-year contract that extends from 2013 through the 2017 season. The new pact also includes a mutual option for 2018.
Molina, 29, is a four-time (2008-11) Rawlings Gold Glove award recipient and a three-time (2009-11) National League All-Star. He was also voted the recipient of the Rawlings Platinum Glove award in 2011, recognizing him as the top defensive player among all players in the National League.
Yadier posted a career-high .305 batting average last season, leading the team and ranking 8th in the National League. He became the first catcher to pace the team in batting since Ted Simmons did so in 1973 and he was just the fifth Cardinals catcher to collect 30 or more doubles in a single season. Appearing in 139 games, Molina also had career-highs for home runs (14) and RBI (65) in 2011 and was a key contributor down the stretch for the Redbirds, batting .342 in August and .341 in September.
"Yadier possesses game-changing ability both in the field and at the plate," said Cardinals' Senior Vice President/General Manager John Mozeliak, who made the announcement at the team's Spring Training headquarters in Jupiter, Fla. "From his dramatic homer in the 2006 NLCS, to his handling of pitchers and controlling the opponent's running game, Yadier has proven to be a special talent when it comes to the all-important challenges of the catcher position. We look forward to having Yadier continue to serve as a cornerstone for our ballclub."
Drafted by the Cardinals in 2000, Molina has established himself amongst the top all-around catchers in the game. Molina leads all Major League catchers in both catcher's stolen base pct. (39%) and pick-offs (38) since 2005, and he ranks among the National League's top clutch-hitting catchers in that time span; posting a .297 (1st in N.L.) batting mark with runners in scoring position.
Molina's career totals include a .274 batting average, 55 HR's and 390 RBI in 944 games. He ranks 4th all-time among Cardinals in games played at catcher (928), trailing only Ted Simmons (1,440), Del Rice (1,018) and Tim McCarver (960).
The right-handed hitting Molina ranks 4th on the Cardinals all-time list for World Series leaders in batting (.341) and he's 2nd among franchise batting leaders in League Championship Series play with a .329 career mark.
Molina continued his postseason success during the Cardinals 2011 run to a World Series title, batting .299 with 12 RBI. His 20 hits in the postseason were the most by a catcher since 2003 (Ivan Rodriguez, 21) and his 9 RBI in the World Series were the most by a catcher since 1997 when the Cleveland Indians Sandy Alomar, Jr. had 10.