The Cardinals and catcher Yadier Molina agreed to a three-year extension on Thursday night, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. The deal will pay the veteran $60 million through 2020.
Molina’s extension will make him the highest paid catcher annually, topping the Giants’ Buster Posey’s $18.5 million per year, according to Rosenthal.
One of the best catchers in the game despite being 34 years old, Molina had been looking to get an extension done with St. Louis before Opening Day because he was entering the final year of a five-year, $75 million deal with the club. He had a strong enough 2016 season, hitting .307/.360/.427 with eight home runs and 58 RBI over 147 games, that he earned votes for the NL MVP.
In previous reports, the seven-time All-Star and seven-time Gold Glove winner originally wanted a four-year deal, but the Cardinals countered with a two-year contract that Molina eventually turned down, leading to this three-year compromise that they got done four days before Opening Day. The new deal will give Molina over $130 million for his career.
With Molina getting a new deal, this could help catchers such as Russell Martin or Brian McCann get new deals and make more money.