Yadier Molina and the Gold Glove award for catcher are becoming quite acquainted with each other. Since 2008, no other catcher in the National League has won the award. He has taken it home seven straight seasons, a sign of power, reverence and a legend being crafted right before our eyes. When Albert Pujols left the team after 11 amazing seasons, the first thought that hit my mind was, “Oh no, Yadi can’t follow him.” Pujols was a vital piece of the franchise and a larger than life figure. Yadier was the cornerstone of what the Cardinals stand for as an organization. Toughness. Endurance. Passion. A true brother to his teammates who put longevity over the ultimate dollar sign in this greedy world of sports business. Yadier embodies the epitome the excellence in his position and he belongs to a select group of players who have won it 7 years in a row.
Molina is putting together a Hall of Fame career. He has two World Series rings, 7 gold gloves(and counting), and has dominated his position for nearly a decade. While his body will begin a decline, I doubt his effectiveness will slip behind the plate. While his intensity and dedication will never quit, Yadi knows how to take care of his body. The one good thing about the collision rule at home plate is it will extend the careers of catchers. Yadi has taken a few of his lumps at home and to see him be protected for years to come is important.
Molina is the most valuable player in my mind because he is a vital piece to the Cards operation in several ways. The team put up a positive record in his two month absence this past season, but the team earned run average had a spike and the young pitchers struggled. The virtue of Molina can’t be sliced up into home runs and runs batted in. Sometimes, people confuse the MVP with the Silver Slugger Award instead of really diving into the idea of true value. Molina is a player the Cards can’t do without. If there was a guy who couldn’t leave after Albert, it was Yadier. When he signed for 5 years and 75 million dollars, many thought it was too much. The right people knew the deal was a bargain when you put into frame all the different weapons Yadi brings you.
He is a brother to the pitching staff. He shuts down the running game. He is a coach in the dugout. He is one of the hardest guys to strike out in baseball. He can hit for average. He has pop in his bat. He has a respectable career batting average. Yadi is all those things and more to the Cardinals.
When I heard he won the Gold Glove last night, I thought to myself, “Yeah that’s about right.” It’s the standard. Yadi winning the award means coffee is still black and the sky is blue every day. It’s as wet as water and hot as a stove. It’s the usual suspect who every baserunner in the game knows very well.
Yadi is valuable, revered and will retire as one of the best catchers to ever crotch behind the plate. In the long run, he will prove to be more valuable than Pujols or any other Cardinal.