The Cardinals declined to exercise the 2012 options on contracts for shortstop Rafael Furcal and reliever Octavio Dotel, allowing each veteran to reach free agency but not closing the door entirely to the club's interest in their return.

The Cardinals officially exercised the 2012 option for catcher Yadier Molina, a move general manager John Mozeliak said Sunday he would make formal. The Gold Glove-winning catcher will earn $7 million.

Furcal, 34, hit .255 with seven homers and 29 runs scored as the Cardinals' leadoff hitter for 50 games after the trade deadline. Dotel, 37, came to the Cardinals from Toronto in the Colby Rasmus deal, and he became a seasoned and effective piece of the retooled bullpen. Dotel went 3-3 with a 3.28 ERA in 29 games for the Cardinals.

Combined Dotel and Furcal had appeared in more than 2,100 games and played for a combined 15 teams (Dotel contributes a dozen), but last week both veterans won their first World Series titles.