This year has been one of the best seasons from Yadier Molina or any Cardinals catcher for that matter. So, as I have been watching this season unfold, I have often had conversations with others including Ray, my father, and some family friends on just exactly how good Molina is. This made me think of a few questions that I would ask the STL Sports Network round table, see what everyone else thought on Molina. So here are our thoughts on certain things surrounding Yadier Molina

Question One: Is Yadier Molina an MVP this year? 

Ray DeRousse: (STL Cardinal Baseball) No. Yadi has had an outstanding season, but I’m not entirely sure that he’s been carrying this team as much as Holliday or Beltran have been. Then you factor in the Cardinals’ underwhelming performance in the standings, Andrew McCutchen‘s amazing year and its effect on the Pirates … Yadi isn’t even in the running, at least not yet.

Kyle Dallman: (STL Cardinal Baseball, STL Rams Football) This is one of those things that I just wish were true. I saw on twitter not to long ago, Yadier Molina is the MVP who will never win the MVP, and this is probably the best way to put it. He truly is the “Most valuable player” to our team, but that isn’t really what the award is any more. Players like Ryan Braun, Andrew McCutchen, or even Matt Hollidayare far more likely to win based on their stats.  So, no I doubt he wins the award, but I just wish it would happen, he truly fits the bill better than anyone else I can think of. He is the leader of the clubhouse and on the field, he is the best defender in all of baseball, his offense has taken a whole new level, and let us not forget his clutch performances time and time again.
Eric Jablonski (STL Blues Hockey) Is he the MVP of the Cardinals? Yes. Of the major’s? No. The MVP of the major’s usually goes for the player with the strongest numbers in the triple crown. Just look at the years Pujols had a strong case but it was given to Bonds.  The problem with the MVP award is the numbers that are needed to make a case to the voters. Theres no way a voter can watch every game and see all the things that don’t show up on a stat sheet that a player provides. This hurts Yadi more than anything.
Question Two: The Cardinals have NO catchers in the Hall of Fame, will he be the first? 
Ray DeRousse: I don’t think so. If Ted Simmons can’t get in with 19 (full) seasons, 248 homers, a .285 BA, 8 All Star appearances and a Silver Slugger award, then Yadi doesn’t stand a chance. After nine seasons, Yadi has just a .389 slugging percentage and 71 homers. After nine years, his cumulative WAR is 16.9. He’s missed the All Star Game five out of nine seasons, and wasn’t even the starter last year. I love Yadi as much as anyone, but he has no chance for the Hall of Fame unless something amazing happens in the last part of his career.
Kyle Dallman: Yes, I think there is at least a chance. I know it is a stretch but I think somewhere down the line he will make it in. I also think Ted Simmons will one day make the HOF by means of the veterans committee, he is worthy of it despite playing on some bad teams.  But Yadier Molina is a different type of player, if you look at his numbers so far there is no way he will reach the hall, but if he keeps up the offense for the remainder of his career, and keeps racking up those Gold Gloves I think there is a chance that he will make it.  As of right now Molina has four gold gloves, and on his way to his fifth straight, if he gets up to nine or ten I think that is solid ground enough. He has already caught in three World Series, winning two of them. He has been a part of winning staffs year in and year out (Forget ’07) and he does have some impressive offensive numbers if you look at the last few years.  It will take a lot for Molina to join the already 13 catchers in the HOF, (Probably will be 15, with Pudge and Mike Piazza in the next few years) but I think if Molina keeps up the great numbers and finishes his career strong he could make it on his defense like other players have in the past.  I like to compare him to Ozzie Smith, decent offensive numbers but his top tier defense and clutch, along with his post season performances makes him a star enough to make the Hall.
Eric Jablonski: has a very good shot at the hall of fame. Just look at how LaRussa trusted a very young kid at that early stage in his career. It’s well documented that LaRussa trusts veterans much more than players with lesser experience. (not a knock at the younger players, but experience is a much bigger factor than some will concede) Duncan and LaRussa trusted Molina to call the biggest games in the most important situations. They trusted him knowing he would stick to the plan and execute it to perfection. We already know that LaRussa is a hall of fame manager (as much as you might not like it) and there’s a very strong case for Dave Duncan to be the first coach inducted. These are two very highly respected men and I believe that because they showed faith in Molina it will carry with the voters. He might be the best defensive catcher in our generation. I don’t think anyone comes close to him in picking off base runners. (apparently he’s the second coming of Vince Coleman when he’s on the bags) Add Molina’s offensive breakout, if it continues, he’ll be a lock. Pudge and Piazza have offensive numbers but Molina beats them hands down on D.
Question Three: Will Yadis number 4 be retired someday? (Even if not in HOF, Ken Boyer only one so far)
Ray DeRousse:  I think Yadi’s number will become “semi-retired” at least, much like Willie McGee’s number. I kinda doubt that the organization goes further, unless that “something amazing” happens.
Kyle Dallman: Well, I do believe there is at least a shot that Yadi reaches the Hall and if he does, it is an automatic move. But, I think Ray is on to something like Willie McGee another mega Cardinal fan favorite, I think it will at least be unofficially retired. But I think there is still a chance that the Cardinals will retire it even he is not in the Hall. When it is all said and done Molina will most likely have played all of his seasons with the Cardinals something only two of the Cardinals retiree’s have done and those are Stan Musial and Bob Gibson.  So far, the only number who has been retired of a player not in the HOF by the Cardinals is Ken Boyer. I think Yadi’s long term tenure with the Cardinals and the fact that he is probably the biggest fan favorite since Willie McGee, makes him a whole different type of player.  It could happen but it will be FAR down the line, Molina won’t even be eligible for the Hall until five years after his retirement and then who knows how long it will take until he makes it? Or if he makes it at all.
Eric Jablonski:  Even if he doesn’t make it to the HOF, his number 4 will be retired and a picture of him picking off a runner will forever be on the left field wall. As much as I want Willie McGee’s 51 retired, I think 4 gets it first. Too many women love Yadi, I’m pretty sure they’d riot.
Question Four: Final thoughts on Yadi as a player, leader, etc. 
Ray DeRousse:  If Yadi is on your team, you love him to death; he’s talented, fiery, and emotional. His smile could warm the heart of a rock. However, opposing teams/fans despise Yadi for those same reasons. He is probably the best field-managing catcher I’ve ever seen; there is never any doubt who is in charge out there. He also calls a game better than any catcher in baseball. Sadly, these talents are not stats that can be displayed in a graph, so they have little impact on his qualifications for the Hall of Fame and other career-ending accolades.
Kyle Dallman: Yadi is my favorite player and he has been for a while. He is the whole package, he is a leader on the team, he plays phenomenal defense (probably the best in the game), his offense and base running ability has improved, and he is one of the most clutch players in franchise history. He is truly the MVP of the Cardinals in all aspects and I believe that the Cardinals should make him a team captain, even though there are only two currently in baseball (Paul Konerko, Derek Jeter) I think it is a worthy sentiment.  I treasure that the Cardinals have locked him up long term, without Molina the Cardinals would not have the same swagger, I would rather have Molina than Pujols any day of the week.  think Molina will be a Cardinal legend for sure, and hopefully one day I can look at the left field wall and see that number 4, look to my kid and say that I was able to watch him play.
Eric Jablonski: It’s amazing what can happen to a player when some others aren’t around. The perception was that this was Pujols/Carpenter/Waino’s team but I think secretly it was Molina’s all along. Carp andPujols are known to be “my way or the highway” type guys. (ask Brendan Ryan) As I mentioned above that Molina was given the ability to control the game at a young age and he’s earned the respect of the team. Don’t think that the team disrespected Pujols or Carp because they didn’t, but Molina grew with this organization and was elevated to leader by the trust of the coaching staff and the front office. I’d argue that the best leader on the team HAS to be the catcher. Just like the quarterback in football the catcher is involved in every play. It’s his job to know everything about the other team and his own. If your catcher can’t control the game and be a leader to the pitching staff, why would a player follow him? He plays a very hard nosed style that can be attributed to the intensity that Tony, Dunc and now Mathenybrings. He’s become the longest tenured Position player on the team. That’s not easy to do in today’s game, especially under the old regime.
So what are your thoughts? Who do you agree, or disagree with? Please comment below! We love to hear from you.

About The Author

I've loved the Cardinals for as long as I can remember, and always will.