Wednesday, February 25, 2015

How Can Jose Molina Help the Cardinals?

I tweeted a link to yesterday's post about hypothetical player-team pairings to Grantland's Ben Lindbergh, and he replied:
The article that Lindbergh sent me discusses the Cardinals bringing José Molina to Spring Training as a special instructor. That means, for at least one month, José and his kid brother Yadier will suit up in the same uniform -- albeit one of those jayvee Spring Training uniforms.

Realistically, José Molina's days as a productive player are over. In 2014, he posted an incredibly punchless season, even for a backup catcher. José struggled to a laughable OPS+ of 22, with more infield hits than extra-base hits. (I wonder why the Rays released him.) Moreover, the 15-year veteran plans to have knee surgery right before the 2015 season begins, so he'll be 40 by the time he's healthy enough to play again. There's not much of a market for quadragenarian catchers who can't hit and might have trouble squatting behind the plate. Even if he is better at framing than Bob Vila.

Still, since it's the time for positive thinking among baseball clubs, let's look on the bright side. The middle Molina brother should add plenty to Cardinals Spring Training, including these possible contributions:

Get even with Yadi
Remember when Yadier left those crackers on home plate for his big brother? Pretty funny, right? Well, big brothers always win. Yadi should remember that as José dips his fingers in warm water, saran wraps him to his bed, and makes wedgies out of little bro's jockstrap throughout the spring.


Take the young guys out
Jupiter, Florida -- the Cardinals' Spring Training home -- is teeming with Tiki bars. I'm sure all of those establishments serve Anheuser-Busch products. Since José has made about $15 million in his career, it would only be right for him to take some of the Cards' minor leaguers out for a night on the town.

Challenge Mike Matheny to a footrace
Nothing's better for team morale than a race between two lead-footed catchers. Matheny stole eight bases in 13 big-league seasons, and Molina has swiped just seven in 15 seasons. Matheny's about five years older so this would be a pretty good race.

And speaking of slow-as-molasses catchers...

Bring back Bengie
You might remember the oldest Molina brother from his stint with one of four teams, which is actually one fewer than José. Bengie left a job as a Cardinals assistant hitting coach and he coaches with the Rangers now, but I'm sure José and Yadi could coax him back to the Redbirds. Seeing his boys reunited on the same team would really make Papa Benjamin smile down from Backstop Heaven.

Meet the Dancing Marlins Kid
This last one is more concerned with what Molina can get out of Spring Training rather than what he can contribute. The Cards share Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter with the Marlins. With any luck, the Marlins will provide their best fan with free admission to the park at all times.




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