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Yadier Molina, Cardinals

Photograph By Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Signed through 2017; team option in 2018

Until the 2012 season, the face of the franchise in St. Louis belonged to Albert Pujols. But as soon as Pujols signed a free-agent deal with the Angels, Yadier Molina stepped into the void with a year to remember. Always a premier defensive catcher (five straight Gold Gloves) and a solid offensive producer, he turned it up several notches this season: .315 with 22 home runs and enough MVP votes to place fourth. No wonder the Cardinals signed him to that long-term contract five years ago.