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5 Biggest Catcher Contracts in MLB History

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 29: Catcher Buster Posey #28 of the San Francisco Giants looks on from home plate during the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Oracle Park on September 29, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants | Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The first big domino in MLB Hot Stove season fell on Thursday morning, as the Chicago White Sox nabbed former Milwaukee Brewers catcher Yasmani Grandal, signing him to a four-year, $73 million contract.

Considering the amount of money Grandal salvaged after his one-year "prove it" stint in Milwaukee, we began thinking about the biggest catcher contracts in league history. Here are the five biggest deals for backstops.

5. Yadier Molina

ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - OCTOBER 11:  Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals reacts after being hit by the pitch against the Washington Nationals during the seventh inning in game one of the National League Championship Series at Busch Stadium on October 11, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
League Championship Series - Washington Nationals v St Louis Cardinals - Game One | Jamie Squire/Getty Images

When looking at the better catchers of the past decade, Yadier Molina's name is one of the first to come to mind. Prior to the 2012 season, Molina had numerous All-Star appearances and Gold Glove awards to his credit. Of course, Molina was a member (and leader) of the St. Louis Cardinals' World Series-winning teams in 2006 and 2011. Molina was rewarded by the team in 2012 with a five-year, $75 million contract extension, making him the second-highest paid catcher in the league at that time.

4. Russell Martin

TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 24: Russell Martin #55 of the Toronto Blue Jays looks on from behind home plate on Players Weekend during MLB game action against the Philadelphia Phillies at Rogers Centre on August 24, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Philadelphia Phillies v Toronto Blue Jays | Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Believe it or not, Russell Martin cracks the top five of the list. In 2014, Martin was arguably the most consistent player on the Pittsburgh Pirates, as evidenced by his .290 batting average, .402 on-base percentage, 11 homers and 67 RBI. The Toronto Blue Jays, looking to crack their way to the top of the AL East, signed Martin to a five-year, $82 million deal. While he struggled towards the end of his contract, his play helped Toronto make two consecutive ALCS appearances in 2015 and 2016.

3. Mike Piazza

NEW YORK - CIRCA 2001: Mike Piazza #31 of the New York Mets throws the ball back to the pitchers against the Los Angeles Dodgers during a Major League Baseball game circa 2001 at Shea Stadium in the Queens borough of New York City. Piazza played for the Mets from 1998-2005. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Dodgers v New York Mets | Focus On Sport/Getty Images

Mike Piazza emerged as one of the league's best catchers in the 1990s. Piazza's 1998 season was a strange one, as he was moved from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Florida Marlins. After playing just five games with his new squad, Piazza was promptly traded to the New York Mets. The team from Queens knew what they were getting in Piazza and decided to get a head start on negotiations. Following the season, the Mets locked in Piazza to a seven-year, $91 million contract. In that span, the catcher solidified himself as the face of the franchise, while adding to his Hall of Fame resume.

2. Buster Posey

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 29: Catcher Buster Posey #28 of the San Francisco Giants looks on from home plate during the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Oracle Park on September 29, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants | Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

There had been tremendous hype surrounding Buster Posey before he was initially called up by the San Francisco Giants (a move that swiftly became permanent) in 2010. After winning two World Series championships and an NL MVP in his first three seasons, Posey was bound to get paid a boatload of money by the Giants. The team obliged by giving Posey an eight-year, $159 million contract, and it proved to be well worth it.

1. Joe Mauer

MINNEAPOLIS, MN- SEPTEMBER 30: Joe Mauer #7 of the Minnesota Twins looks on and acknowledges the fans after catching against the Chicago White Sox on September 30, 2018 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the White Sox 5-4. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
Chicago White Sox v Minnesota Twins | Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

Of course, the greatest catcher of this generation cracks the No. 1 spot on the list. Joe Mauer was the hometown hero for the Minnesota Twins ever since drafting him first overall in the 2001 MLB Draft. Mauer was bound to cash in on a lucrative contract, especially after winning the AL MVP award in 2009, where he led the league in batting average (.365), on-base percentage (.444), and slugging percentage (.587). The Twins rewarded Mauer with an eight-year, $184 million contract, officially making him the richest catcher in MLB history.