Sunday's report from Derrick Goold that the St. Louis Cardinals and Yadier Molina had tentatively stopped talking about a new contract were perhaps not what Cardinals fans who just finished dealing with their excess Albert Pujols baggage needed to hear, but if it's any consolation this might not be a terrible thing from the Cardinals' perspective.â†µ
The Cardinals do need a free agent catcher after 2012—if it isn't Molina it'll have to be someone else, given Bryan Anderson's stagnation and Robert Stock's immense struggles as a hitter in the low minors. But Molina is also coming off what is by a significant margin the best offensive season of his career—he's unlikely to repeat it, but that .465 slugging percentage is going to loom very large in any discussion about his future that starts right now.
If, in 2012, Molina reverts to his old self—a good hitter for a catcher, and nothing more—the Cardinals will have significantly more leverage with which to deal, even though other teams will be able to make offers. If he somehow doesn't—well, okay, then the Cardinals are kind of screwed.