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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Yadier Molina joins New Balance team

Yadier Molina’s five-year, $75 million contract with the St. Louis Cardinals caused ripples of concern across MLB when it was announced in the spring of 2012.

Times have chanced since. As Molina reinforces his defensively-generated reputation as the best catcher in the game by also leading the National League in hitting, any contract-related fretting has melted away.

With some of his additional cash, Molina has established a charitable foundation as well as started a record label. The catcher also purchased a Florida mansion for over $7 million.

Despite his high profile across Major League Baseball, Molina has had few, if any, commercial endorsements to augment his considerable salary. This has been an ongoing challenge for many Hispanic athletes, as outlined in this recent ESPN article.

Further complicating matters for Molina may include St. Louis’ status as a non-major media market, his halting English and mysterious neck tattoos. Yet, the 30-year-old (he turns 31 on the 13th) is arguably the most popular current Cardinals player.

Molina’s endorsement portfolio received a boost on Monday as New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc. announced Molina and Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett are joining its roster of pitchmen.

Still, it remains to see how significant the new arrangement will be since New Balance notes it has already signed 450 other professional baseball players.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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13 Responses to “Yadier Molina joins New Balance team”

  1. blingboy says:

    Bernie’s latest Pujols article is somewhat interesting, providing stats explaining the ‘why’ behind Albert’s decline. Bernie’s been busy, his Byline is all over the Cardinals page. Does anybody else still work there? What do they do?

    A passage that got my attention:

    “If you laid his numbers into the current Cardinals lineup Pujols would rank 6th in batting average, five points ahead of Pete Kozma. Pujols would be 6th in OBP, one point ahead of Jon Jay. He would also rank 6th in slugging.”

    I think I mentioned recently the Holliday ranks just about the same among the Cards lineup in several offensive catagories. If Albert were still here, he’d be hitting 3rd and Holliday 4th. Imagine what that would be like. Well, no need to imagine, look at the Angels season.

    All that being said, they’ve been playing better lately and we’ve been playing worse. I’m holding my breath.

  2. Bw52 says:

    It seems Alberts years of trying to play thru any kind of injury have really come back and haunted him this season.He isn`t the AP of 5 years ago but he certainly isn`t a .249 hitter either.All that money spent and Alberts been trying to play hurt and Hamilton has just plain looked bad this year.Of course Cards have their own salary drains in Furcal and Garcia and Chris Carpenter all down because of injury.It makes me wonder about what the Cards do with Beltran after the season or in case of a freefall by the team maybe deal him at the deadline.

  3. kray66 says:

    “Mysterious neck tattoos” . . . . I love it.

  4. Bw52 says:

    Most people who are not baseball fans don`t have any idea who Yadi Molina is and probably many casual baseball fans don`t recognize him either.Why would he get a mega endorsement deal? He lacks national recognition and he`s not a record breaking Hitter or pitcher.He is just a star at a unglamorous position on a team that is pretty much middle America without any headline whores.

    • blingboy says:

      Agree Bw. If you play in flyover country you have to be McGwire or Pujols to be worth much as a national spokesperson. It’s like if whoever is the big star of the Charlotte NBA team was on TV pitching something. Might as well be some guy off the street.

  5. Bw52 says:

    Once again starting pitching puts the Cards behind big early.Lance Lynn has pitched more turds lately than gems.Somebody wake up the offense while you are at it.

    • Brian Walton says:

      6-10 in last 16. Not good.

    • blingboy says:

      There wasn’t much wrong with the job Lynn did. They had six singles fall in or find holes in the second. The Cards D wasn’t too great, including a couple little girl outfield throws.

      Besides, when you score one run it doesn’t matter how your pitcher did.

      There have been some poor starts lately, but the main problem is the same as last year, the high powered offense unable to score when it matters.

  6. blingboy says:

    Lynn’s last start also featured only one bad inning. There were four singles, two of them grounders up the middle. His real undoing there was two walks in the same inning. I would not really consider that a bad start either. Before that were two wins. Before that he went 6 innings giving 4 runs, two two run innings in which he was touched up with x-base hits. That was not a good start, but hardly horrible. He didn’t let things get out of hand.

    With Lynn, he goes 10-1 and we expect every start to be lights out.

    Wainwright has had similar starts. No need to panic.

    • crdswmn says:

      I agree that there is no need to panic about Lynn.

      But Lynn’s BABIP against is .290 which is right at league average. I see nothing in his numbers to indicate he has been overly plagued by bad luck. Yes, he wasn’t hit with any authority last night, but that may be in part to due to the hitters. What I see with Lynn (and with Shelby too) is over reliance on the fastball. That may be because of lack of confidence in secondary pitches, and if that is the case, then that is a problem that needs to be addressed.

      Lynn throws 60% 4 seamers. Shelby throws 73%. When you throw that many, hitters will just sit on it, and hits and runs result. I don’t care how good your fastball is, major league hitters are going to hit it unless you mix it up with something else.

      Wainwright is as successful as he is because he knows how to pitch. He doesn’t just sling fastballs and hope for the best. He can throw all his pitches for strikes and mix them up to get hitters off balance. Wainwright throws less than 20% 4 seamers. He throws almost an equal amount of cutters, sinkers, and curveballs. He also throws in a change up once in a while just for fun. This is how you pitch to get big league hitters out.

      • blingboy says:

        I think you hit the nail on the head about the importance of knowing how to pitch. Guys like Lynn and Miller need to keep pitching and keep learning.

        The offense is a whole different story. The problem goes back to last year. What is a very productive offense is simply to unreliable to be considered truly effective. With the talented core people that just cannot be allowed to continue. I used to think that with all the offensive tallent, we could get by with just solid D from Kozma and even Jay. But events have proved me wrong. The complimentary guys have to be able to make things happen offensively if the offense is to become reliable enough to be considered effective. Unlike the case with the rotation, the issue with the offense is not going to fix itself over time.

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