The Giants are not likely to keep Molina, but that doesn't mean Buster Posey has the job

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Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News says that while the Giants would welcome Bengie Molina back, they only want to give him a single year and don’t want to give him a raise.  Molina, on the other hand, wants more money and two years.  Given that Buster Posey is waiting in the wings in San Francisco there’s no reason for the Giants to make anything approaching that kind of a commitment to Molina. And of course, given the Law of Conservation of Molinas, there will always be a roster spot for Bengie someplace else, so he’s as good as gone. Possibly to the Mets, Baggarly thinks.

Not that San Francisco is completely sold on Buster Posey yet. For reasons that remain totally baffling, the Giants sent him to the Arizona Fall League this year, where he has struggled mightily.  This, according to ESPN’s Jason Grey, is because he simply looks worn out, which is to be expected after a season behind the plate in San Jose, Fresno and San Francisco.  A great season to boot, which makes one wonder why on Earth Brian Sabean feels it necessary to put more innings on the knees and back of his top prospect.  The kid has nothing to prove apart from his mortality and injury recovery prowess, but I guess Sabean wants to test that stuff too.

Based on Sabean’s history, it’s probably also because he thinks any player under 30 is still too green to contribute at the big league level and needs some seasoning.  This is consistent with Baggarly’s speculation that the Giants are thinking about bringing in Pudge Rodriguez in the event Molina walks.  If they do, I’d bet you an order of garlic fries and an Anchor Steam that Rodriguez, and not Posey, gets the Opening Day start. 

Phil Bickford suspended 50 games for drug of abuse

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 10:  Phil Bickford of the U.S. Team pitches during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at PETCO Park on July 10, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.

Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.

Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.

Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):

We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.

Diamondbacks sign Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million deal

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 21:  Fernando Rodney #56 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 21, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.

Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.

Hazen issued a statement following the signing:

With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.