San Diego Padres: Yadier Molina worth a look

Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The San Diego Padres are looking to strengthen their roster as they seek to build a sustainable contender. Yadier Molina can help with that goal.

The holiday season is upon us. And in the spirit of giving, let’s finally gift the San Diego Padres an accomplished catcher behind the plate. In a move that would strengthen their lineup, the Friars should explore signing Yadier Molina as a free agent.

In a recent video interview with Laura Bonnelly of Mas Que Pelota, Molina reiterated that he wants to remain with the St. Louis Cardinals next season. But he also confirmed that four major (New York Yankees, New York Mets, Los Angeles Angels, and San Diego Padres) league teams have contacted him about his services for 2021.

The lone surprise name in the group is the Friars as they seem set at the catcher position following the trade deadline deal that acquired Austin Nola from the Seattle Mariners last July. However, signing the nine-time Gold Glover is the right move to dethrone the reigning champs, Los Angeles Dodgers, in the National League West.

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Friars Struggle to Find a Starting Catcher

It seems like the Padres have been revamping the catcher position since the days of Benito Santiago. If the team is serious about contending next season, then go out and sign Molina to a short-term free agent deal. He is the best cost-efficient catching option available on the open market today.

This shouldn’t be considered a patchwork acquisition as the future Hall-of-Famer wants to play as long as physically possible. Obviously, Molina has a short shelf life in San Diego and his addition to the lineup doesn’t derail the Padres’ long-term plans at the catcher position.

However, Francisco Mejia would seem to be the odd man out of the mix if Molina is brought into the fold. But the Padres may pause on using him as trade bait until the outcome of Luis Campusano’s offseason legal troubles are decided.

Molina is a Proven Commodity

The one thing that is for certain, Molina’s playing experience will make him the perfect mentor to a talented, but very inexperienced pitching staff. He can guide pitchers through tough stretches during the season, especially when it looks like the wheels are about to come off. Plus, Molina becomes an extension of Padres pitching coach Larry Rothschild on the field. That means the message won’t get lost from the dugout to the mound. Guaranteed that Molina will get the point across loud and clear.

The productivity of the Padres lineup won’t take a hit either with the addition of Molina. He has a career batting average of .281 with 2001 hits and has consistently delivered at the plate in key games for the Cardinals. Just take a look at his production (batted .462) against the Padres in the wildcard round this past October. Molina has proven playoff track record with two World Series titles (2006 and 2011) on his resume. No question, the Friars are adding an elite defensive catcher who still has some pop in his bat.

Padres Love Nola’s Versatility

The signing of Molina allows Nola to return to his true MLB calling: being one of the best utility players in the majors. He can make more of an impact in the lineup by playing first base, second base or either corner outfield position during the course of a given week. This will keep the regular lineup fresh for the long grind of the baseball season.

Tingler loves having players who can play multiple positions on the field. Nola’s versatility allows him to replace two bench players on the roster. Now, Tingler can use the extra roster spot to fill an immediate need. It could be adding an extra infielder, outfielder, or another arm for the bullpen when the situation dictates such a move. Nola will still be expected to catch at least once or twice a week in order to preserve Molina’s body from breaking down.

It is hard to imagine Molina in any other uniform beside the Cardinals. But, we are talking about an organization that said goodbye to one of the franchise’s (Albert Pujols) iconic figures nearly a decade ago.

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If the San Diego Padres have an opportunity to sign a free agent who can make an impact both offensively and defensively in games, then get the deal done.

Yadier Molina is the right fit for this franchise.