After trying to play through a torn ligament in the NLDS with mostly poor results Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina underwent surgery to repair the injury today.
Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that the recovery timetable is 8-12 weeks, leaving Molina plenty of room to be ready for spring training.
Next season is a crucial one for Molina, because even before the thumb injury he was showing major signs of slowing down at age 32 and once that happens most catchers don’t bounce back in a big way. He hit just .270 with four homers in 136 games for a .660 OPS that’s his lowest since 2006, when Molina was 23 years old.
He topped a .300 batting average and .800 OPS every year from 2011-2013, but his OPS dropped to .719 last season and bottomed out this year. In terms of leading a pitching staff Molina remains vital to the Cardinals and his ability to control an opponent’s running game hasn’t wavered any, but 2016 will tell us a lot about whether he’ll be an impact hitter again.
Molina is under contract for $14 million in 2016, $14 million in 2017, and a $15 million mutual option or $2 million buyout in 2018. If nothing else St. Louis may look into upgrading the backup catcher spot beyond light-hitting Tony Cruz.