Rays, Jose Molina Working On Two-Year Deal

4:44pm: The two sides are indeed negotiating a two-year deal, tweets Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The contract could be finalized next week.

2:51pm: The Rays are making progress on re-signing catcher Jose Molina, according to ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter link). The two sides could be working on a two-year deal, Olney hears.

The 38-year-old Molina batted .233./.290/.304 in 99 games for the Rays last season — the lowest offensive output of the past four years for Molina. However, he's regarded as one of the game's best defensive catchers and is an expert in the art of pitch-framing. He's also caught 38 percent of opposing base-stealers throughout his career.

The Rays currently figure to deploy Jose Lobaton as their everyday backstop. Other free agent options such as Brian McCann, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and perhaps even A.J. Pierzynski may be well beyond the Rays' price range. They've been linked to Ryan Hanigan as well, who would represent an affordable, defense-first alternative for GM Andrew Friedman, should things with Molina fall through.

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