ST. LOUIS — Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina likely know as much, or maybe even more, about each other than their respective spouses do.
Think about it. These two have been together every day for eight or nine months out of the year for at least 13 years.
Molina broke in as a light-hitting defensive stalwart catcher in 2004, and after coming over in a trade with the Braves, Wainwright burst on to the stage in 2006 as a World Series-winning rookie closer.
Their first full year together in '06 culminated with a series-clinching hug as the Cardinals beat the Tigers to take the team's 10th world title.
The two have logged 278 starts together over the years (including playoffs). There are only five pitcher/catcher duos in history who can claim more starts together.
2020 looks like it could very well be the final ride for the two Cardinals greats. It's only right for them to have one last hurrah together.
I am convinced Yadier Molina could play baseball until he's 70 years old. The guy is a tank, and hasn't shown many signs of slowing down.
His 2019 season, although shortened a bit by injury, still produced solid numbers. His OBP and SLG were down, but he still managed to hit .270 and drive in 57 runs. Not too shabby for a 37-year-old catcher.
Molina could enter the top ten in the history of the game for catchers in games played in 2020. He could eclipse 2,000 hits (only 11 catchers can say that). And he could tie Johnny Bench for the second-most Gold Gloves all-time by a catcher with one more either this offseason or the next.
So you might be wondering why I'm talking about him calling it quits after next season. Well, it's because he's said it himself.
When asked at the 2018 Winter Warm-Up, Molina said, "That's it" when his current contract runs out following the 2020 season. Yes, he might have a change of heart considering how well he appears to be holding up, but at that time it seemed like a pretty definitive statement.
Molina will turn 38 next July. Just imagine the wear and tear of more than 2,000 major league games behind home plate at that age. It sounds excruciating.
We've learned never to doubt Molina's ability to prove us wrong, but the end certainly appears to be near.
We thought that was the case with Adam Wainwright last year, and he proved everyone wrong as well.
Wainwright came back from an injury-riddled 2018 on a one-year, incentive-based contract and absolutely pitched his tail off. He started 31 games for the Cardinals, going 14-10 and logging some much-needed innings. He had a respectable 4.19 ERA and was fabulous in his two playoff starts going 15 innings and allowing just three runs.
At 38 years old he proved he still has the stuff for the big stage. It should be a no-brainer to bring him back for another year and one last run.
After the Cardinals' Game 4 loss to the Nationals, Wainwright said he hadn't even thought about what's to come next season.
"I hadn't even thought about it. We'll talk about it over the next couple of weeks. Right now I'm just feeling for these guys in here. We battled through a lot of stuff this year," Wainwright said. "People did not think we were going to be here. I think if you'd have asked all of Cardinal nation in spring training if we got the NLCS would they be happy, most of them would've probably said yes. But our ultimate goal is to win the World Series and I know our fans is too so we're all disappointed collectively. We could've done better and we didn't."
You can count his catcher among those that want to see No. 50 out on the Busch Stadium mound again in 2020.
"I really want to play one more year with that guy. So hopefully he comes back," Molina said after the NLCS. "This guy can pitch, he's got the heart and he works hard so hopefully he comes back."
Wainwright got the most out of his incentive-laden contract last season, earning $8-million in bonuses. Maybe give him a little bump in the base and offer up another incentive-based deal for one last ride. He's more than proven he's built for it.
The Cardinals' rotation situation could certainly use him. Next year they'll have Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas and Dakota Hudson. Michael Wacha seems destined for a new club, you have no idea what to expect from Alex Reyes or Austin Gomber. And who knows if they'll be interested in bringing Carlos Martinez back into the picture as a starter. They could use some stability.
There's nothing that says stability like Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright.
Baseball is no stranger to giving us some great storylines, so why not this one for 2020?
Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright have already earned their red jackets for the Cardinals Hall of Fame. But it would be even cooler if they could ride off into the sunset together in 2020.
And who knows? Maybe they'll each have a third World Series ring to remember it by.