Hitting coach Jaramillo suddenly sought-after free agent

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Rudy Jaramillo has spent the past 15 years as the hitting coach in Texas, but he’s now a free agent after leaving the Rangers earlier this week:

I’m not going to be in this position very often, and I don’t know what’s going to happen with the Rangers and the ownership situation. I didn’t want to retire and look back with regret that I didn’t take this opportunity. I’m not bitter or anything. This is my decision. I want to go out there and see where I stand in the game.

Jaramillo is reportedly looking for a multi-year contract rather than the one-year deal offered by the Rangers and he’s likely to get it, as multiple teams are already said to be in the mix for one of the most successful, longest-tenured hitting coaches in baseball history.
Before landing in Arlington he coached a Rookie of the Year named Jeff Bagwell in Houston and Jaramillo has presided over Rangers hitters winning four MVP awards, as Juan Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez, Alex Rodriguez, Michael Young, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark Teixeira, Ian Kinsler, Josh Hamilton, Rusty Greer, Hank Blalock, and most recently Nelson Cruz are just some of the players who’ve thrived under his tutelage.
In his 15 seasons on the job the Rangers have ranked among the league’s top three in scoring five times while ranking below average just twice. On the other hand the hitter-friendly ballpark in Texas has played a huge part in those numbers and even after 15 years of prolonged success the Rangers’ management still had some public criticisms about the team’s situational hitting this season, which perhaps made Jaramillo’s decision to leave a bit easier.
We’ve come a long way in terms of analyzing the impact of everything on the field, but evaluating the impact of coaches remains focused on reputations and guesswork. Jaramillo is generally considered one of the best hitting coaches around and he’s about to be paid like someone who’ll make an immediate impact on his new team’s offense, but as Leo Mazzone’s struggles in Baltimore showed even the best coaches can’t always transfer their success to new homes.

David Price’s season debut could be pushed back to May

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David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.

Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:

[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.

The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.

Yadier Molina will not enter contract negotiations during the 2017 season

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Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina is still open to extension talks during the last week of spring training. Once Opening Day rolls around, however, Molina has preemptively nixed any contract negotiations until the end of the 2017 season, when he’s scheduled to hit free agency.

Molina wants to stay with the Cardinals, or so he’s telling reporters, but he’s also “not afraid” to test the free agent market this fall should a deal fail to materialize. Via Goold:

I would love to stay, but at the same time I’m not afraid to go to free agency. I’ve still got many years in the tank. Believe me. I feel great. I feel like a 20-year-old kid. I’m not afraid to go to free agency.

The 34-year-old backstop is entering his final year under contract, though Goold points out that he has a $15 million option for 2018 that he can choose to decline in the event that it’s exercised by the team. He’s reportedly searching for a figure closer to those made by other top catchers like Buster Posey and Russell Martin.

The 2017 season will mark Molina’s 14th year in the Cardinals’ organization, building on a career that has spanned seven All-Star campaigns, nine postseason runs and two World Series championships in St. Louis. He batted .307/.360/.427 with eight home runs and a .787 OPS for the club in 2016.