ST. LOUIS -- Catcher Yadier Molina said on Monday that he plans to play out his current contract with the Cardinals and then call it a career.
"Three more years," Molina said bluntly. "That's it."
The tone was more definitive than it had been previously for the 35-year-old catcher, who is about to enter his 15th Major League season. He is entering the first season of a three-year, $60 million extension he signed last April. When Molina was asked then how long he intended to play, he responded with a caveat.
"Four years," he said. "For now."
In setting 2020 as an endpoint to a career that could culminate with induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Molina also adds to the organizational urgency of getting back into the postseason. Though the club expects its young talent to help ensure sustained success, the Cardinals can also see a changing of the guard coming.
Veteran starter Adam Wainwright, the second-longest-tenured player on the team behind Molina, is entering the final year of his contract. He said on Sunday that he'll wait until after the 2018 season to evaluate his future. Wainwright and Molina have started more games as batterymates than any tandem in franchise history.
As for Molina, he's already built a distinguished resume that includes two World Series rings, eight Gold Glove Awards and eight All-Star appearances. He's been a model of durability and has started at least 128 games behind the plate in eight of the past nine seasons.
Molina has no plans to reduce that workload in 2018.
"Thank God my body feels fine," Molina said. "I have no problems with it. Hopefully, I keep that for three more years."
Separate of any personal goals he still hopes to accomplish in that time, Molina has set his sights on one other objective before retirement arrives.
"I can't wait to grab that [World Series] trophy in November or October," he said. "Three more championships."