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The Bengie Molina Sweepstakes

Bengie Molina has strangely emerged as neglected free agent, facing very little interest from teams and a possible one year deal.  Coming off a career best .295/.336/.446 line, this is a curious situation.

Molina will be entering his age 32 season in 2006, and I've projected him at .289 with 17 HR next season.  While his defense is no great shakes, one would think a few clubs would come out ahead in offering him a reasonable two-year pact.  However, once you factor in defense, Molina ranked 15th among catchers in 2005 despite his solid showing at the plate.  He presents very little improvement for most ballclubs, and that seems to explain the lack of interest.

Should the Blue Jays pursue Molina?  Probably not.  He was only marginally better than Gregg Zaun in 2005, and he'll definitely cost more.  I understand the idea is to platoon the players and have a sweet tandem like the Reds, but is Molina really going to want to do that? 

Honestly, these are the teams that I think stand to gain at least one win by adding Molina:

Royals
Angels
Rockies
Padres

The Royals already tossed their free cash at other marginal free agents, although Molina would've made some sense if the club is ready to give up on John Buck.  Most likely, they'll keep Buck around longer than they should in order to pretend they didn't get hosed in the Beltran trade.

The Angels really should've tried harder to bring Molina back.  Jeff Mathis is a huge question mark on a team for which a win or two could determine whether they make the playoffs.

The Rockies don't really have a good reason to go out and sign a free agent.  But if I were Molina's agent, I'd campaign hard to get him to Coors for a season.  He could play there for $4MM, hit 20 HR, and get that big deal he was looking for.  It's been done before.

The Padres seem content with Doug Mirabelli and Dave Ross, who are both backups.  Given their lousy division and legitimate shot at the playoffs, I'm surprised they haven't chased Molina a bit more.

The Dodgers would probably be the best fit, and they have inquired about Molina.  It would be a logical solution to bring Molina in for a year before the team evaluates the readiness of Dioner Navarro and Russell Martin.


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