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Molina inks five-year extension with Cards

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina has year contract extension.

The new deal begins in 2013 and runs through the 2017 campaign. It also includes a mutual option for 2018. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that it would likely be worth more than $10 million per season.

Molina is entering the final season of a five-year contract that will pay him a reported $7 million for 2012. He is coming off the best offensive season of his career, having batted .305 with 14 homers and 65 runs batted in -- all personal highs.

The 29-year-old native of Puerto Rico has helped the Cardinals to a pair of World Series titles since making his big league debut in 2004. He hit the winning home run in the ninth inning of Game 7 of the 2006 National League Championship Series against the New York Mets, propelling the Cardinals to the World Series crown, then drove in nine runs during St. Louis' seven-game World Series triumph over Texas last October.

"Yadier possesses game-changing ability both in the field and at the plate," said Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak in a statement. "From his dramatic homer in the 2006 NLCS, to his handling of pitchers and controlling the opponent's running game, Yadier has proven to be a special talent when it comes to the all-important challenges of the catcher position. We look forward to having Yadier continue to serve as a cornerstone for our ballclub."

Molina has been an All-Star in each of the last three years and a Gold Glove winner for the last four seasons. In 944 games, Molina is a career .274 hitter with 55 homers and 390 runs batted in.

The Cardinals have some extra money at their disposal after losing superstar first baseman Albert Pujols as a free agent this winter.