ST. LOUIS -- General manager John Mozeliak defused speculation that catcher Yadier Molina's absence from this weekend's Winter Warm-Up had anything to do with the club's inability to re-sign first baseman Albert Pujols.
"I just don't think he really loves the autograph process and going through all of that," said Mozeliak, noting that Molina did not appear at last year's event either. "He'll likely probably try to make a donation [to Cardinals Care] to make up for that. He understands the club's stance on this. Clearly, it's not something that's become a big issue."
Mozeliak said that the idea of having Molina make a donation to Cardinals Care -- the team's community foundation and beneficiary of Winter Warm-Up proceeds -- was brought up during recent discussions that he had with Molina and Molina's agent.
Mozeliak also briefly touched on the subject of Molina's contract status on Saturday. Molina, who will make $7 million in 2012, is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. Mozeliak did not provide any specifics regarding negotiations with Molina, saying only that "he is certainly someone we would like to keep here long term."