Thursday, December 3, 2020

Would Yadier Molina be a fit for the Washington Nationals?

With Kurt Suzuki un-likely to return to the Washington Nationals, we take a look at some other catchers that could fill the void.

St. Louis Cardinals iconic catcher Yadier Molina will see his three years, 60 MM contract expire at the end of this season. While there might be mutual interest between St. Louis and the catcher for a return, it is possible that might not happen. So that brings up the question, should the Nationals go after the veteran catcher instead of J.T. Realmuto. 

Earlier this month, we made the case that the Nationals should go all-in on J.T. Realmuto. However, there is a case to be made that by not going all-in on Realmuto and looking for another cheaper catching option, Molina might be the perfect fit for Washington. 

Let’s set this up a bit. Whether the Cardinals are interested in handing out a multi-year deal for the catcher at this stage of his career is unclear, the Nationals could be in a perfect position. On their roster for the catcher position is Yan Gomes; in 2021 will be at the end of his two-year contract, and Molina could act as a bridge to the future. 

Offensive Career Stats for Yadier Molina

Let’s take a look at the career of Yadier Molina. Molina is a nine-time All-Star and nine-time gold glove winner, and even though his batting average has trailed off in recent seasons, he is still hitting for a respectable average; believe it or not, his production is right in line with the average MLB catcher over the past few years.

Defensive Career Stats for Yadier Molina

Additionally, his defense would be a welcome addition to the Nationals. According to Fan Graphs and Statcast, Molina’s pitch framing is slightly above-average dating back to 2019, which would be an automatic upgrade at the catcher position for the Nationals. 

In addition to his above-average pitch framing abilities, Molina has also threw out a vigorous 31.7% of attempted base stealing over the past two seasons, so his defense would be an excellent addition. 

What about the money? Well, with the majority of the market looking at J.T. Realmuto as the big fish, the Nationals can come in with an excellent offer for Molina that would have to involve at least two years, and the price of the actual contract will be significantly less. 

Some questions that need to be answered:

  • is Yadier Molina willing to accept that a rather considerable pay cut in terms of annual salary still seems all but certain;
  • are the cardinals going to retain an icon and potential Hall of Famer or turn things over to younger options;
  • how much do the Washington Nationals want to spend on the catcher position which they need to fill the position; 
  • And is Molina the right choice? Does Molina
  •  fit the Washington Nationals clubhouse vibe? 

We will see all these answers play out over the next couple of months, which for sure will keep the offseason interesting. 

Subscribe to the Morning Briefings

Get the latest Washington Nationals and MLB headlines to start your day, delivered to your inbox.

Latest Headlines

MLB Aree Agency and trade tracker: Latest news, signings and moves.

The latest updated Major League Baseball free-agency, signings and trade tracker.

Morning Briefing: Joe Ross Signs a one year deal

The latest Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball news, headlines, analysis and rumors for December 2, 2020

Washington Nationals & Joe Ross Agree to 1 year Deal, $1.5 million per sources

Starter Joe Ross, who was a candidate to be non-tendered, signs a one-year, $1.5 million deal returning to the Washington Nationals