Cruz Gabriel Molina
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 220 lb.
- School Arizona State University
- High School John F. Kennedy High School (Denver)
- Debut May 1, 1999
- Final Game May 26, 2003
- Born May 3, 1975 in Denver, CO USA
Gabe Molina was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 21st round of the 1996 amateur draft and signed by scout John Green. He began his professional career that year with the Bluefield Orioles. In 23 relief appearances, he went 4-0 with a 3.60 ERA, striking out 33 batters in 30 innings of work. The following year, 1997, he pitched for the Delmarva Shorebirds, and he went 8-6 with a 2.18 ERA in 46 relief appearances. He struck out 119 batters in 91 innings as well. In 1998, pitching for the Bowie Baysox, Molina went 3-2 with 24 saves and a 3.36 ERA in 61 2/3 innings. He struck out 75 batters.
Molina began the 1999 season with the Rochester Red Wings, going 2-2 with 18 saves and a 3.14 ERA in 45 relief appearances for them. On May 1st, he made his big league debut, pitching against the Minnesota Twins. He allowed a hit and a walk in an inning of work, but he gave up no earned runs. Overall, he made 20 appearances in the majors that year, going 1-2 with a 6.65 ERA. He walked 16 batters and struck out 14. According to Baseball America, he was ranked the 10th best prospect in the Orioles organization.
He spent time in the majors and minors in 2000, in two different organizations. For the Baltimore Orioles, he appeared in 9 games and posted a 9.00 ERA in 13 innings. For the Red Wings, he went 1-2 with a 4.94 ERA in 18 games. He started 4 games for them, the first starts of his professional career. On July 31st, Molina was traded with B.J. Surhoff to the Atlanta Braves for Trenidad Hubbard, Fernando Lunar and Luis Rivera. He made 2 appearances for the Braves and spent the rest of the season with the Richmond Braves. With Atlanta, he pitched 2 innings, allowing 2 earned runs. With Richmond, he went 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 9 relief appearances. Overall, he went 0-0 with a 9.00 ERA in 11 relief appearances in 2000. He went 2-2 with a 4.58 ERA in the minor leagues. He was granted free agency on December 21st.
Molina was signed by the Florida Marlins on January 10, 200]. He appeared in 40 games (16 starts) for the Calgary Cannons, their top minor league affiliate, going 5-9 with a 5.89 ERA. He was granted free agency on October 15th. He was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals on November 28th.
Although he had struggled mightily in the majors throughout his career, and in the minors in parts of 2000 and all of 2001, his 2002 season would prove to be a major improvement, if not a pleasant surprise. He appeared in 56 games for the Cardinals AAA team the Memphis Redbirds, going 5-4 with a 2.15 ERA, saving 12 games. In 12 major league appearances, he went 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA.
He would not be so successful in 2003, going 2-9 with a 5.09 ERA in 57 relief appearances for the Redbirds, and 0-0 with a 13.53 ERA in three relief appearances for the Cardinals. He appeared in his final major league game on May 26th.
In 2004, he did not play in American affiliated baseball. In 2005, he pitched for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, in the Colorado Rockies farm system. In 12 games with them, he went 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA.