The Rays officially announced the signing of catcher Jose Molina today to a one-year deal with a club option. The $1.8MM deal pays $1.5MM for Molina's 2012 salary and includes a club option at the same price for '13 with a $300K buyout. Molina jumps to the top of the Rays' depth chart, as yesterday they traded catcher John Jaso to the Mariners for reliever Josh Lueke and a player to be named later or cash considerations.
With the Rays, the 36-year-old Molina appears to have a shot at topping his season-bests of 297 plate appearances and 737 innings caught, both set in 2008 with the Yankees. Molina is known for his defense (especially in framing pitches), but in 2011 he had one of his best offensive years in a limited 191 plate appearance sample. Molina is "one of the best defensive catchers in baseball over the past decade," in the words of Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. The Blue Jays will receive a supplemental draft pick for their loss. Molina is represented by ACES.