St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, in his 19th year in the Major League Baseball (MLB), announced on Wednesday that this season will be his last, a day after agreeing to a $10 million deal for 2022 that represents a $1 million raise.
"It’s hard to keep up in this game to a high level," the 39-year-old said, according to the Associated Press inputs. "When you’re 39, it’s tough. I try my best. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be able to finish strong next year and try to bring the trophy back to St. Louis this year and next year."
Since being drafted in the fourth round of the amateur draught in 2000, the 10-time All-Star and nine-time Gold Glove winner has spent his whole career with the Cardinals. In 2006 and 2011, he led the St. Louis side to win the World Series.
Following the announcement, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said, "To have someone want to stay and be a part of something from Day 1 to where their career ends is just remarkable in this day and age."
"This is an exciting moment."
This summer, Molina was a free agent until signing a one-year, $9 million contract in February.
"I was thinking about my career and I was planning to retire next year," he said. "Last year, the free agency was tough for me. I didn’t want to go through that again this year."
This season, the Peurto Rican along with Yogi Berra and Johnny Bench became the only catchers in major league history to record 2,000 hits and play in 2,000 games with one team. His 18 seasons catching for the Cardinals are the most by any catcher with the same team.
Among major league catchers, Molina is fourth in games caught (2,080) and starts at catcher (2,014), fifth in innings caught (17,441 2/3), fourth in pickoffs (52); second in putouts (14,446) and total chances (15,551) and 10th in caught stealing percentage (40.4%), according to AP inputs.
With inputs from the Associated Press