Jose Molina Rumors
Jose Molina is the Rangers' "No.1 target" in the free agent catching market, reports Jeff Wilson of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Molina and Rod Barajas each turned down minor-league deals from Texas, with Wilson saying that Molina "isn't in a hurry to sign until some other catchers set the early-spring market."
Molina could also be holding out for a situation where he would have a better chance at a steady role, given that he would be one of seven catchers in the Rangers camp. Taylor Teagarden and Jarrod Saltalamacchia are the favorites to win or share the starting job, but Saltalamacchia's September shoulder surgery has left Texas looking for a veteran backstop in case their young star isn't ready for Opening Day. Wilson points out that Toby Hall (another experienced catcher signed to a minor-league deal by Texas last month) and Molina share the same agent.
Molina .217/.292/.268 in 155 plate appearances for the Yankees last season. He has a career OPS of .609 in 10 major league seasons.
Links for Monday...
- With catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia recovering from shoulder surgery, the Rangers are interested in free agent catcher Jose Molina, industry sources tell T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Molina would be the seventh catcher in camp for Texas if he is willing to sign a minor league deal and compete for a job.
- WEEI's Rob Bradford says the Red Sox are in preliminary negotiations with Cuban pitcher Yuniesky Maya. Sox president Larry Lucchino appears to say the Sox "would soon sign" Maya, in this Terreno de Pelota column by Uziel Gomez (translation credit to Nick Collias).
- Joe Morelli of the New Haven Register has plenty of quotes from Yankees GM Brian Cashman regarding Johnny Damon (hat tip to River Ave. Blues).
- Jack Moore of FanGraphs suggests that the Marlins' quiet offseason could cost them a shot at the playoffs.
- SI's Jon Heyman names his biggest offseason surprises, led by the Mariners' moves.
A "person in the industry" tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that once Bengie Molina signs with a club, the rest of catchers on the open market are going to be scooped up quickly.
While the Mets are known to be pursuing Molina, the two sides are not close, according to one source. As a result, free agent catchers Rod Barajas, Jose Molina, and Yorvit Torrealba are still waiting by the phone. Torrealba is drawing interest from the Mariners, Rockies, Rangers, Mets, and Giants.
Reportedly, Molina is seeking a three-year deal worth roughly $20MM. Do you think he will continue to hold out for that type of money, or will he ease up on his demands and sign with a team relatively soon?
THURSDAY, 3:17pm: Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says the Royals are making progress on a two-year deal with Kendall, perhaps worth more than $4MM.
WEDNESDAY, 4:20pm: Another catcher gets a two-year offer - Kendall - courtesy of the Royals (Dutton reporting).
TUESDAY, 7:31pm: The Royals don't appear likely to spend more than about $2MM on a catcher, according to Dutton. GM Dayton Moore says the Royals would consider a multi-year deal under the right circumstances.
10:39am: Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star tweets that the Royals will "look at" Jose Molina as a possible starting option.
8:09am: Kendall is said to be "focusing on a possible contract with Kansas City," writes Tracy Ringolsby of FOX Sports. Kendall likes the opportunity but they have to find a middle ground on the money.
3:41am: The Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton reports that the Royals are shifting their focus to veterans Jason Kendall and Rod Barajas to fill their catching needs. The Royals, previously reported to have interest in Ivan Rodriguez, stood by and watched as Pudge inked a two-year deal with Washington.
Having found few appealing scenarios through the trade market, the Royals will now look to Kendall and Barajas. Kendall, 35, posted a line of .241/.331/.305 while earning $5MM. Barajas, 34, hit .226/.258/.403 while earning $2.5MM.
The Royals don't have the dollars to match Kendall's 2009 salary, but it's hard to imagine anyone giving him $5MM anyway. The Royals could offer Barajas a similar salary, and as Dutton points out, both players could be attracted to Kansas City because of an increased opportunity for playing time.
Which option would you prefer for your club?
Other quick hits from the article:
- Clubs are asking about Gil Meche, but Dayton Moore isn't inclined to move him unless he receives a strong offer.
- Chris Getz is the favorite over Alberto Callaspo as the starting second baseman due to defensive reasons. Callaspo is still being dangled as a trade chip.
- Just 17 days after removing him from their 40-man roster, the Royals grabbed Julio Pimentel on a minor-league deal.
Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas rounds up some Texas Rangers-related rumors from the second day of the winter meetings. We've heard one or two of these already, but let's check out the highlights of Durrett's recap....
- The Rangers are looking to bolster their bullpen, and names of interest include J.J. Putz, Matt Lindstrom, and Brett Myers. Ramon Ramirez and Chris Ray are also on their radar.
- As FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi indicated earlier today, no Kevin Millwood trade appears imminent. A few teams are interested, but the Rangers will pull the trigger only on "the right deal." Presumably the "right" return is more about money than talent.
- If the club is able to move Millwood, they'd look to fill the hole in their rotation with another veteran starter. Ben Sheets and Rich Harden are potential options, with the Rangers hoping to meet with Sheets' agent this week.
- Dealing Millwood would also allow Texas to free up some money to pursue a right-handed bat. Perhaps Vladimir Guerrero or Jermaine Dye.
- The team is looking for a catcher as well. Durrett names Jason Kendall, Rod Barajas, Jose Molina, and Yorvit Torrealba as targets.
- Durrett and others heard earlier that the Rangers offered top prospects Neftali Feliz and Justin Smoak to Florida in exchange for Josh Johnson. Another official denies that Texas made that proposal, but suggests that the team does have interest in Johnson.
Links for Day 2 of the Winter Meetings, which are taking place in Indianapolis...
- Add Robb Quinlan to the list of utility men on the Rockies' radar, according to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post. Tracy Ringolsby of FOX Sports names Melvin Mora as another target. MLB.com's Lyle Spencer tweets of interest from the Twins in Quinlan.
- The Mariners' deal for Chone Figgins is official, tweets the Brock & Salk show. The team press release notes it's a four-year deal with an option for 2014.
- Cardinals manager Tony La Russa acknowledged interest in Miguel Tejada, talking to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. By the way, Astros GM Ed Wade is certain he won't re-sign Tejada, tweets Alyson Footer. Tejada apparently wants multiple years.
- MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan says the Rangers are considering free agent catchers such as Rod Barajas, Jason Kendall, Yorvit Torrealba, and Jose Molina.
- WEEI's Alex Speier passes along Scott Boras' comments from an XM Radio appearance. Boras discussed Matt Holliday, Johnny Damon, Ivan Rodriguez, and Adrian Beltre.
- The Brewers are discussing relievers Kevin Gregg and Mike Gonzalez at least internally, writes MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. The Crew recently lost reliever Mark DiFelice for the 2010 season. Gonzalez would cost good money and the Brewers' second-round pick (currently #50).
- Yahoo's Kevin Kaduk asks whether Twitter is helping or hurting the Winter Meetings. My opinion: hurting. The information crush was tolerable when reporters all got blogs a few years back, but now it's excessive. Of course, we're not helping.
- Jamey Carroll would love to play for the Reds but hasn't received an offer yet, writes MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.
- The D'Backs offered Chris Snyder to the Rangers for C.J. Wilson and were turned down, reports MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. Wilson tweets that he's "borderline offended" by Arizona's offer.
- The Pirates have had further talks with free agent hurler Justin Duchscherer, says Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but don't expect him to sign soon. We learned yesterday that the Rockies have cooled on Duchscherer. Kovacevic also reports that despite scouting Aroldis Chapman, the Pirates are not a player for him. ESPN's Jorge Arangure Jr. indicates that Chapman will be showcased in Houston later this month.
- The Rays and White Sox discussed a Carlos Quentin-Carl Crawford trade, says Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. Manager Ozzie Guillen implies that nothing is cooking on that front though. The two clubs also discussed closer Bobby Jenks, but the Rays did not like the asking price.
- Angels GM Tony Reagins admitted to interest in Hideki Matsui, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times. Keep in mind, though that the Japanese press is apparently grilling every GM on Matsui. Reagins also said he hasn't ruled out re-signing Vladimir Guerrero.
- Carl Pavano explained his decision to accept arbitration from the Twins, in an email to Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune suggests retaining Pavano makes Glen Perkins expendable.
- The Rangers are not interested in trading for Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit, reports MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post tells us why the Yankees weren't serious about Mark DeRosa and adds a couple other rumors:
- They never made a strong push for DeRosa, since they had no logical place to put him.
- The Yankees will have three catchers when Jose Molina joins Francisco Cervelli and Jorge Posada, but they have no plans to deal Molina.
- They would consider promoting Shelley Duncan, who has 21 homers in Triple A, if they want a right-handed bat.
3:11pm: It's official now; as MLB.com's B.J. Rains reports, Molina's headed to the DL.
11:27am: When the Yankees lost Jorge Posada to the DL for two to three weeks, Jose Molina became their starter. Now, Molina's quad is injured and, as Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News reports, Joe Girardi isn't optimistic about the injury. This leaves the Yankees with Francisco Cervelli behind the plate, a 23-year-old with a solid minor league resume, but only 41 games played above A ball and seven big league plate appearances. So what should the Yankees do if Molina has to spend time on the DL?
- Let Cervelli play until Posada returns in a couple weeks.
- Sign a free agent catcher like Johnny Estrada or Paul Lo Duca to fill in.
- Trade for a catcher.
- Jorge Posada could rejoin the Yankees as early as Wednesday (a few reports suggested Tuesday). Kat O'Brien of Newsday says the Yanks will hold on to both Jose Molina and Chad Moeller for "a while" after Posada returns, but as Peter Abraham points out on the LoHud Yankees blog, the Yankees have a real need for a set-up man now that Joba Chamberlain is starting.
- Juan Uribe has been activated from the 15-day DL, and although Ozzie Guillen said he wasn't guaranteed playing time, they had to make room on the roster nonetheless. DeWayne Wise was designated for assigment.
- The news that Clay Buchholz has been optioned to Pawtucket comes as a shock to yours truly, but it underscores just how much starting pitching the Red Sox have right now, even with Daisuke Matsuzaka currently on the 15-day DL. Free agent pickup Bartolo Colon has worked out so far as a low-risk, high-reward signing. They've also got a good spot-starter in Justin Masterson, currently in Double A. And as if that weren't enough, Curt Schilling could start throwing off a mound June 6. The odd man out could bring something useful in a trade. Just idle speculation, and I know there's no such thing as too much pitching...but the Red Sox do have some holes to fill.
Buster Olney wonders whether Jorge Posada will have to spend most of the season DHing, and at the same time his backup Jose Molina may be DL-bound. Sure, the Yankees could just make do with internal options until Molina returns in a few weeks. But it's also possible that Brian Cashman will look for outside help.
Trade possibilities include Bengie Molina, Ramon Hernandez, Humberto Quintero, Brayan Pena, and Gerald Laird. Laird may be off the table, as the Rangers wait to see if his offensive resurgence lasts and give Jarrod Saltalamacchia more time. Molina and Hernandez carry commitments through '09, while Pena and Quintero are backups and could be easily acquired.
The Reds may be considering a similar list of available catchers, though they are looking for more than a short-term fix.