It feels odd even to contemplate different uniforms for longtime Cardinals Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright, but it’s far from certain either or both will remain in St. Louis. Mark Saxon of The Athletic provides an update on the state of ongoing talks between the club and these grizzled veterans.
While both players are pushing forty, each has clear appeal on the market. Molina is considered a master of his craft behind the dish and remains a palatable hitter, even if he’s unlikely to turn in any more average-or-better seasons with the bat. And Wainwright has racked up 237 1/3 innings of 3.91 ERA pitching dating back to the start of the 2019 season. Both players rank among MLBTR’s top 50 free agents.
It’s no surprise that the Cards maintain strong interest in retaining both players, neither of whom has donned the threads of another MLB franchise. But it’s equally predictable to learn that, per Saxon, the club is letting the market develop rather than rushing to re-ink Molina and Wainwright.
The Cardinals’ payroll predicament left it unlikely to jump to meet the demands of Molina, who’s said to be hoping for a multi-year deal while “seeking at least a one-year, $10 million deal with a 2022 option.” That’d eat up a big chunk of the available spending for the club, though president of baseball operations John Mozeliak did make clear that he’d pursue an alternative backstop if Yadi heads elsewhere.
In the case of Molina, Saxon writes that early talks didn’t gain much traction. Molina’s camp viewed an initial offer from the Cards as an attempt to lowball the veteran.
Wainwright doesn’t seem to have held many substantial discussions at all, with the Cardinals or other organizations. He says that he has yet to receive any firm numbers from suitors. Wainwright’s contract situation is at least more straightforward than that of Molina, as he could slot into just about any rotation and is said to be seeking only a single-season contract.