LA Angels: Yadier Molina makes a perfect potential addition
By David Rice
In looking at ways the LA Angels new general manager Perry Minasian could improve the team’s pitching staff, here is an outside the box idea. Sign veteran catcher Yadier Molina.
You might ask how can a catcher improve the LA Angels pitching? The answer is very simple. Veteran experience in handling pitchers young and old. Plus the fire and grit Yadier Molina would bring to the Angels is immeasurable.
Will Yadier Molina all of the sudden make all the Angels starters All-Stars? The answer is no. However, the value of having a veteran signal caller with a ton of post-season experience was seen years ago when Molina’s older brother Bengie was behind the plate helping navigate a young Angel staff to a World Series title in 2002.
It’s All in the Family
Bengie Molina gave his pitchers confidence that he would make the necessary plays behind the plate (framing, blocking pitches, throwing runners out trying to steal). In addition he knew how to call a game and was an extension of then-manager Mike Scioscia on the field. When Bengie Molina left for Toronto after the 2005 season, younger brother Jose Molina, who had been his older brother’s back-up from 2003-2005 came in provided that same stability behind the plate for the Angels staff.
Jose Molina is now back with the Angels as their major league catching coordinator. He and Angels manager Joe Maddon are very familiar with each other as Maddon was the bench coach for the Angels back when both the elder Molina’s played for the team and then acquired Jose to help a young Rays staff in TampaBay while he managed them.
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Yadier Molina is not his brothers, but he has the same grit and toughness and knows hw to handle a pitching staff like they did. While Yadier is the youngest member of the Molina family to be playing in the majors, he is arguably the best one. Yadier Molina has all of the intangibles that his brothers possessed plus a whole lot more.
Yadier Molina is a 9-time All-Star as well as a 9-time Gold Glove Winner in the National League. In addition Molina has played in 101 playoff games including four World Series, which the Cardinals won twice (2006 and 2011). He has a career .281 batting average smashing 160 homers and driving in 932 runs and has struck out less than 10% of the time in nearly 8,000 at-bats
You need more numbers? I’ve got’em. In 1989 games behind the plate Yadier Molina has a .995 fielding percentage and a 40.3% caught stealing rate. Molina has only committed 77 errors in his career which is 4.7 errors per season.
Pundits will say that Yadier Molina is too old. I agree age is creeping up on him at 37, but he is not a long-term solution, but he would be a guy that would help the Angels get over the hump and back into the playoffs and once they get there his inexperience would be invaluable.
Only Anthony Rendon and Albert Pujols have any substantial post-season experience of the Angels projected starters (Pujols will probably platoon at first base). None of the Angels pitching staff has any post-season experience.
Yadier Molina could give tutelage to any younger catchers the Angels have in their organization such Max Stassi and being that he would be in the American League Molina wouldn’t have to play every day behind the plate as he could DH from time-to-time.
I honestly think this move would be a no-brainer as Yadier Molina and the LA Angels would be a match made in … well, pardon the pun, Heaven.
I’m not saying that Max Stassi can’t do an adequate job behind the plate, butI think adding Yadier Molina could be the best gift under the Christmas tree for the Angels pitching staff. Think about this Perry and make the right decision and sign Yadier Molina.