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MLB St. Louis Cardinals

Yadier Molina Has New Battle For St. Louis Cardinals

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

When you take a look around Major League Baseball at the best catchers in the game, one of the first names that pops into your head is Yadier Molina. Molina has shown a steady hand in getting the St. Louis Cardinals’ pitching staff on track for two World Series championships. Molina is now 30 years old and it looks like age isn’t catching up to him just yet.

Molina had a career-high 22 home runs in 2012 and even stole 12 bases when he didn’t steal more than nine in a previous season. The biggest thing about Molina though is his defense. There is no better defensive catcher in the game right now, and when you can throw out a base runner leaning off first base from your knees, it’s quite impressive. Molina is going to have a much tougher task ahead of him in 2013 however, with the Cardinals being without ace pitcher Chris Carpenter and with Kyle Lohse likely leaving as a free agent.

This could be a season that sees Molina’s offensive numbers take a drop, as the wear and tear from so many years behind the plate will begin to take a toll. If the Cardinals can play Molina a lot more at first base and get him out from behind the plate, it is going to extend his career for a few extra years. Molina is signed through 2017 at a very affordable price for St. Louis and while I do think he will decline some in 2013, he will still be one of the elite catchers in the game.

Andy Schmidt is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ASchmidtSports, like his Facebook page or add him to your network on Google.