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Is Saturday a final curtain call for Molina and Wainwright together at Busch?

Even though Saturday may not end up being a last hurrah at Busch for Wainwright and Molina, it comes with a realization that the end is indeed coming soon

ST. LOUIS — The last time a Cardinals season didn't feature either Yadier Molina or Adam Wainwright, the first iPhone was still four years from being released.

And while things seem to be trending toward an extended stay for both pending free agents, this Saturday could be it for one of the most impressive pitcher/catcher combos in the history of baseball.

Their start on Saturday will be the 274th time the pair has combined as a battery for the Cardinals. It's the sixth most for a pitcher and catcher tandem in baseball history.

It could be the last.

Quite a bit remains to be seen as the Cardinals approach the offseason, but it's not a lock we'll see these two combine again for a start.

Adam Wainwright, 39, is the oldest player in the National League. He came back this season on a one-year deal. Perhaps he decides to go out at the top of his game?

Wainwright has been superb for the Cardinals this season, and has likely been the team's MVP. Heading into his final start of the year, Wainwright is 5-2 with a 3.05 ERA. Every time the Cardinals have needed a guy to go out and get a big win or go deep in a game to save the bullpen, Wainwright has stepped up to the challenge.

Possible injury concerns heading into next season with Dakota Hudson, Miles Mikolas and perhaps Carlos Martinez gives the Cardinals even more of an incentive to bring Wainwright back on top of the veteran's above-average production.

If Wainwright wants another go at it, and we've seen how much of a competitor he is, he's going to get an offer from the Cardinals this winter for another year.

Molina perhaps isn't quite so cut and dry of an item.

Molina, 38, is in the last year of his contract as well. The future Hall of Famer and newest member of the 2,000 hit club had expressed his desire to retire at the end of this contract in the past, but in recent comments has said he wants to play more for the Cardinals, and then eventually that he just wants to play more. Period.

The Cardinals icon has been effective in his 17th year in the league, hitting .265 coming into the final series against the Brewers and compiling some more clutch moments. But it's not a guarantee he'll be back with the Cardinals.

St. Louis has shown it can let a legend walk away in Albert Pujols, and the team has a budding young catcher in Andrew Knizner who has been waiting in the wings. 

It seemed like Molina really was serious about taking his talents elsewhere if the Cardinals opt to move on, but the safe bet is for both sides to come to an agreement for another year or two.

Even if Saturday doesn't look like it will be the last hurrah at Busch for Wainwright and Molina, it comes with a realization that the end is indeed coming soon. It's inevitable. When a Cardinals roster doesn't include either of those all-time franchise greats, one of the best eras in team history is officially over.

No matter what, we'll get to look forward to the day they're throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at Busch, both wearing red jackets.

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