Yadi flirts with the idea of playing two more years, testing free agency

'Obviously, St. Louis is my first option. But if they don't sign me, then I'm willing to go into free agency. This situation has changed my mentality, and all I want to do is play.'
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ST. LOUIS — Yadier Molina, the Cardinals‘ backstop for the past 16 seasons, has always planned on ending his career in St. Louis.

But Molina admits the current coronavirus situation has changed his thinking, including potentially playing longer and maybe for another team if the Cardinals don’t re-sign him.

“I previously said that if it wasn’t with St. Louis, that I would go home,” Molina told ESPN in a phone interview. “If we were unable to come to an extension agreement, that I would retire. But the situation with this pandemic has changed everything. Right now, I’m thinking of playing two more years.

“Obviously, St. Louis is my first option. But if they don’t sign me, then I’m willing to go into free agency. This situation has changed my mentality, and all I want to do is play.”

Molina, 37, signed a three-year, $60 million deal with the team in 2017. The deal expires at the end of the 2020 season, but the two sides have been reported to be discussing a potential extension.

With the current baseball season on pause and it seemingly unlikely MLB will be able to play a full 162-game season, the All-Star and Gold Glove catcher could enter 2021 with plenty of fire left in his belly.

Extension or no extension, Yadi has yet to firm up when his retirement could come. He told ESPN he thought there was a “50/50 chance that the 2020 campaign would be my last.”

He added that playing a shortened season would make it “feel like unfinished business,” potentially fueling his comeback for additional seasons.

Molina batted .270 with 10 home runs and 57 RBIs in 113 games last season.