Cardinals will exercise option to keep Molina

Cardinals will exercise option to keep Molina

Cardinals will exercise option to keep Molina
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals will exercise their 2012 contract option on Yadier Molina, general manager John Mozeliak said Sunday.

Mozeliak said that he expected to make that decision official on Monday. The option is worth $7 million, with a buyout of $750,000, and it is the final year of a contract Molina signed before the 2008 season. Molina, 29, enjoyed his best season at the plate in '11, hitting .305 with a .349 on-base percentage, a .465 slugging percentage, 14 home runs, 65 RBIs and 55 runs scored.

The club also holds options on shortstop Rafael Furcal and relievers Arthur Rhodes and Octavio Dotel, neither of which is likely to be exercised. However, the Cards could approach either or both about a return at a lower cost.

The Cardinals held a World Series championship parade on Sunday, and Mozeliak spoke briefly after the event. He said he expects to begin the process of contacting agents about retaining Cardinals players as soon as Monday.

Major League teams have exclusive negotiating rights with their own free agents until 11:01 p.m. CT on Wednesday. That time frame is much shorter than it has been in the past.

"It's obviously a small window," Mozeliak said. "It's difficult to imagine getting a lot accomplished in there. But obviously, I've got to get on the phone tomorrow and try to look at some things, at least open up some dialogue. On all players, not just [Albert Pujols]."

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.