The St. Louis Cardinals and catcher Yadier Molina are making progress in talks about a contract extension, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag sports, who tweets that the two sides "may be getting closer to a deal."
Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that general manager John Mozeliak and Molina's representative had discussions on Monday, citing sources.
In November, Molina’s agent, Melvin Roman, told MLB Network's Jon Morosi that he planned to address Molina's contract with the Cardinals before Opening Day.
Molina has said he prefers to have an agreement in place before Sunday's opening night game against the Chicago Cubs, or he would explore free agency at the end of the season, according to Frederickson. The reporter also notes that Molina's representative and the Cardinals had previously mentioned that "more formal negotiations would begin this week and that progress could be made before leaving Florida."
Molina, 34, is entering his 14th major league season, all of which have been with the Cardinals. His current contract, an extension signed in 2012, expires at the end of this season, but includes a $15 million mutual option for 2018.
The seven-time All-Star, eight-time Gold Glove winner and two-time World Series champion expressed a strong desire to stay in St. Louis when signing his 2012 extension. During an interview with ESPN 101 St. Louis, ESPN baseball analyst Eduardo Perez said he believes Molina's commitment to the Cardinals and his family -- he owns a home in St. Louis and in Jupiter, Fla., where the Cardinals hold spring training -- will once again be a major factor in his decision.
"It's not about the money," Perez said. "It's about the environment, and St. Louis produces that for Yadier Molina's family, and it produces it for himself also, and for his own well-being."
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweeted that Molina's reluctance to move his family, per a source familiar with the catcher's thinking, doesn't mean he'd accept a weak offer, but also "might not require every last dollar." Rosenthal predicts a three-year deal in the $45 million to $55 million range to be the most likely outcome.