The Cardinals announced a five-year, $75MM contract extension with catcher Yadier Molina this afternoon. The deal includes a no-trade clause and a mutual option for 2018 that's worth an additional $15MM. Molina is represented by Melvin Roman of MDR Sports Management.
Molina, 29, is considered by many to be the game's best defensive catcher. His offense took a leap forward in 2011, as he posted a .305/.349/.465 line in 518 plate appearances. Molina has been durable, averaging 145 games over the last three years including the postseason. The $15MM salary and five-year term probably represents market value for Molina, but it may have been more difficult for GM John Mozeliak to hammer out a deal after the season.
Molina's contract is the third-largest in baseball history for a backstop, behind Joe Mauer's $184MM and Mike Piazza's $91MM. On the Cardinals, Molina is second only to Matt Holliday in average annual value. This is Molina's second multiyear deal with the Cardinals, as they locked him up affordably four years ago.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports first tweeted the news and added existence of the vesting option later on. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported the value of the contract. Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch first said the deal was all but done and Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch first reported the mutual option.