Jose Molina Rumors
DECEMBER 2, 10:14pm: The Rays have officially announced the deal, tweets Topkin.
NOVEMBER 24, 4:29pm: Topkin tweets the contract details: $1.75MM in 2014 and $2.75MM in 2015. Topkin adds Molina is set to take a physical either Monday and Tuesday and, once that is complete, the deal is expected to become official.
Molina is expected to be Jose Lobaton's backup after starting a career-high 87 games behind the plate in 2013, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Topkin adds the middle Molina brother had received interest from other clubs, but liked the Rays' competitive situation, playing for manager Joe Maddon, and living in the Tampa Bay area, not far from his Puerto Rico home. The Rays had been linked as a possible trade partner for the Reds' Ryan Hanigan.
Molina batted .233./.290/.304 in a career-best 313 plate appearance (99 games) for the Rays last season, his lowest offensive output in the past four years. However, the 38-year-old is regarded as one of the game's best defensive catchers (although his lack of mobility resulted in 33 wild pitches and eight passed balls in 2013) and is an expert in the art of pitch-framing. Molina has also thrown out 38% of opposing base-stealers throughout his career.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
The Cardinals' four-year, $53MM deal with Jhonny Peralta has an interesting twist: it's frontloaded. The shortstop will earn $15.5MM in 2014, $15MM in '15, $12.5MM in '16, and $10MM in '17, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Here's tonight's look around the majors..
- Peralta's deal raises the uncomfortable issue of PED usage paying off, writes Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports. Diamondbacks relief pitcher and team union representative Brad Ziegler took his dissatisfaction with the deal to Twitter, but he's far from the only player who has an issue with players linked to PEDs getting major paydays.
- Heyman looks at the market for Jarrod Saltalamacchia and wonders if the Blue Jays, Twins, or Rockies could steal him away from the Red Sox. The Rangers look like another possibility to some, but one person connected with the club says a return for Salty isn't too likely at the moment. Texas has looked at free agent catchers, but they've also suggested that Geovany Soto will be their fulltime backstop.
- The Rays' are still waiting on results of Jose Molina's physical and therefore won't have an announcement on his signing until early next week, tweets Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Molina is expected to ink a two-year, $4.5MM pact to stay with Tampa Bay.
- The opportunity to win attracted Skip Schumaker to the Reds, writes MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. Schumaker said his decision came down to the Reds and one other unspecified playoff-caliber team.
- In today's inbox, MLB.com's Corey Brock touches on the possibility of star third baseman Chase Headley being moved and other matters surrounding the Padres.
Teams have asked the Blue Jays about Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, but Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos told Jim Bowden of SiriusXM (via Twitter) that he hasn't "entertained the idea" of trading either player. Bautista hit .259/.358/.498 with 28 homers in 2013 and saw his season end early after being shut down due to a hip issue. Encarnacion had a solid campaign, posting a slash line of .272/.370/.534 with 36 home runs. Bautista is owed $14MM annually through 2015 with a club option for the same amount in 2016 while Encarnacion will make $19MM through '15 with a $10MM club option for '16. Here's more out of the AL East...
- The Yankees are refusing to punt and are living for today with their Brian McCann signing, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. McCann's lefty pull power should provide a huge boost in 2014 (and probably '15 and '16), but beyond that is a mystery.
- Within the same article, Sherman writes that the Yankees are now more upbeat about the chances of Hiroki Kuroda returning. There remains a chance that the veteran pitcher decides to play in Japan next season.
- The McCann agreement allows the Yankees to take their time developing Gary Sanchez, their top prospect per MLB.com, knowing McCann will eventually move to first base or they can use him as a trade chip, tweets the New York Daily News' Mark Feinsand.
- Feinsand, in a second tweet, sees the backup job coming down to Austin Romine and Francisco Cervelli with Chris Stewart being non-tendered. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz estimates the arbitration eligible Cervelli and Stewart will each earn $1MM.
- Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com wonders how McCann's new $85MM deal with the Yankees affects the Orioles' Matt Wieters. Wieters’ offensive numbers aren’t as good, but he is is two years younger than McCann and Scott Boras will certainly dig up data to show that Wieters is deserving of more money.
- Meanwhile, Alex Speier of WEEI.com looks at what McCann's deal might mean for Red Sox free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Salty is now the best avaialble free agent catcher and his market should now start to take shape.
- A combination of familiarity and affordability led to Jose Molina returning to the Rays, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Financial terms of the yet-to-be-completed deal are not yet known, but Topkin writes that it's unlikely that he received more than the $3.3MM total he made the last two seasons.
- The Orioles won't re-sign Tsuyoshi Wada, according to MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko. The O's declined their club option on Wada earlier this month; but, at the time, the door was said to be open for a minor league deal in Baltimore.
- The Orioles need to be creative in wringing the most value out of Jim Johnson, writes the Baltimore Sun's Eduardo A. Encina. Encina dangles the idea of moving Johnson, who MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects to receive $10.8MM in arbitration, into the rotation, but that begs the questions of whether starting is a good fit for the 30-year-old right-hander and who will step in as closer.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
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.
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.
Both Molina ($1.8MM) and Shields ($10.25MM) were expected to have their options picked up. The 35-year-old Rodney pitched to a 0.60 ERA with 48 saves this year, so his $2.5MM option was a no-brainer. Scott, 34, hit .229/.285/.439 with 14 homers and will receive a $1MM buyout rather than a $6MM salary.
The Rays are expected to exercise their $1.8MM option on catcher Jose Molina for 2013, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter). The move effectively costs the Rays $1.5MM as Molina's buyout was worth $300K.
At the very least, Molina provides Tampa Bay with a capable backup as they work with a limited budget this winter. The backstop hit .223/.286/.355 with eight homers in 274 plate appearances last year but was worked exceptionally well with the club's pitchers.
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.
10 American League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make, and we'll update them in this post throughout the day in advance of the 11pm central time deadline. For a fantastic customizable chart with all 57 Type A/B free agents and their teams' decisions in real-time, click here.
Updated team decisions:
- The Blue Jays offered arbitration to Frank Francisco (B), Kelly Johnson (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick), Jose Molina (B) and Jon Rauch (B), according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (on Twitter). They declined to offer Shawn Camp (B) arbitration.
- The Red Sox announced that they offered David Ortiz (A) and Dan Wheeler (B) arbitration. They declined to offer Jason Varitek (B) arbitration. Jonathan Papelbon (A) already signed with the Phillies.
- The Yankees offered Freddy Garcia (B) arbitration according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch (on Twitter).
- The Royals offered Bruce Chen (B) arbitration, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.
- The White Sox announced they've offered arbitration to Mark Buehrle (B) and not Juan Pierre (B).
- The Athletics announced David DeJesus (B) and Josh Willingham (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) were offered arbitration.
- The Rangers announced C.J. Wilson (A) will be offered arbitration. Modified Type B free agent Darren Oliver does not require an offer.
- The Orioles announced they will not offer arbitration to Vladimir Guerrero (B).
- Twins GM Terry Ryan said today on a conference call that he will offer arbitration to Michael Cuddyer (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) and Jason Kubel (B), and noted that no arbitration offer is necessary for modified Type B free agent Matt Capps.
Teams with decisions still due:
Molina, 36, is a 12-year veteran who spent the past four-plus seasons in the AL East with the Yankees and Blue Jays as a backup. A defense-first catcher (redundant, I know), Molina is a career .241/.286/.344 hitter, although he posted a .281/.342/.415 line in 2011 with Toronto, albeit in 191 plate appearances.
The Rays went with a catching platoon in 2011, divvying up playing time pretty evenly between Kelly Shoppach and John Jaso. Shoppach, a free agent, will presumably sign elsewhere this offseason, according to Morosi, so Molina could perhaps take his place in that time-share, barring any other moves by Tampa Bay for a catcher.
Molina is a Type B free agent, so the Blue Jays will receive a supplemental first-round pick for losing him.
The Tigers had already locked up Brandon Inge, Jhonny Peralta, Joaquin Benoit and Victor Martinez by November 23rd of last year. Here’s the latest on the team as they start the current offseason more quietly...
- The Tigers seem to believe they can find help via trades, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. The club has given up a lot in the past but they are willing to deal anyone but their top minor league prospects.
- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press that the Tigers didn’t offer contracts to Mark Ellis, Jamey Carroll or Aaron Hill, three middle infielders who recently signed two-year deals. Should the Tigers pursue free agent middle infielders such as Clint Barmes or Kelly Johnson, they’d likely be looking at a two-year commitment given the deals we’ve seen so far and the number of teams with openings at second or short.
- The Tigers are considering Jose Molina, Matt Treanor, Ramon Castro and former Tiger Gerald Laird as possible backup catchers, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). All four backstops are free agents who could give Alex Avila an occasional breather while keeping Martinez’s knees fresh so he can contribute on offense.