Cards, Molina close to extension

The St. Louis Cardinals and catcher Yadier Molina are reportedly close to an agreement on a new contract.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a multi-year deal that could average more than $10 million per season could be finalized by the end of the week.

Molina is entering the final season of a five-year contract that will pay him $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 drove in nine runs during St. Louis' seven-game World Series triumph over Texas last October.

Molina has been an All-Star 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.