Chicago Cubs: Yadier Molina potentially leaving St. Louis just seems wrong

Yadier Molina / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Yadier Molina / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

Watching him from the other side for years, Chicago Cubs fans certainly have strong thoughts on Yadier Mol na. But him leaving St. Louis would be wrong.

Love him or hate him, there’s likely no middle ground for you when it comes to Yadier Molina if you’re a Chicago Cubs fan. Some can look beyond the fact that he’s anchored the St. Louis Cardinals for the better part of two decades and appreciate what he brings to the game.

Others? Not so much. The red on his uniform may as well belong to the British army during the Revolutionary War because there’s that much animosity between Cubs fans and the 37-year-old Puerto Rican native.

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As the Cubs near the end of the line when it comes to controlling many of their core players, including Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber and Willson Contreras, the Cardinals are now dealing with a report that could spell the end of Molina’s run in St. Louis – and we’re not talking about retirement, either.

"“I previously said that if it wasn’t with St. Louis, that I would go home. If we were unable to come to an extension agreement, that I would retire. But the situation with this pandemic has changed everything. Right now, I’m thinking of playing two more years,” Molina told ESPN recently."

There’s no questioning the indelible mark Molina has left on the Cardinals organization – and baseball, as a whole. Once heralded as a defensive guru, he worked to develop a stronger offensive game, as well. That’s culminated in nearly 2,000 career hits, nine All-Star selections, one Silver Slugger award and a pair of World Series rings to-date.

I have a lot of friends who are Cardinals fans. And it’s perfectly clear – Yadi means the world to them. He’s been one of the faces of the franchises for some time. Seeing him play for another team would be devastating, comparable to Michael Jordan lacing them up as a member of the Washington Wizards after retiring for the second time from the NBA.

Molina has been very up front about what he’s looking for: he wants a deal to run through 2022. Obviously, inking a backstop nearing his 40th birthday carries all kinds of red flags, but there are always exceptions to the rule. The question now is whether Jon Mozeliak will make this decision with his head or his heart because there’s no way Molina is worth what he’s making this year (the prorated portion of $20 million).

"“Obviously, St. Louis is my first option. But if they don’t sign me, then I’m willing to go into free agency. This situation has changed my mentality, and all I want to do is play.”"

It’s almost impossible to envision Molina going elsewhere. No other team is going to treat him the way the Cardinals have and continue to do. As a Cubs fan, it’s like trying to picture Anthony Rizzo in another team’s threads after his deal concludes next season. It’s not impossible, but it just kind of leaves you with a pit in your stomach.

"“I’m confident that St. Louis and my agent, Melvin Roman, will come to an agreement. But the most important thing right now is everyone’s health and we’ll talk business later on. Now there are much more important things.”"

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We’ll see how it all plays out. There’s no doubt Molina is one of the most heralded Cardinals of all-time and he’s certainly no stranger to Cubs fans given the work he’s done against them over the years. Could he look to a team like the Angels, with former teammate Albert Pujols and skipper Tony LaRussa, who advises the front office? Perhaps – but it’s a long shot, at best.