Hot Stove Roundup: Cabrera, Rodney, Orioles, Pirates

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Thumbnail image for miguelcabrera.jpgHere’s a few Hot Stove items of note as we eagerly await 12:01 am on Friday:

– Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com thinks that if the Tigers aim to cut payroll, they should consider trading Miguel
Cabrera to the Red Sox
. Likewise, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe thinks Cabrera should be on Boston’s short-list of possible middle-of-the-order bats. Cabrera, 26, is owed $126 million over the next six seasons.



– Todd Zolecki of MLB.com writes that the Phillies reportedly have interest in Fernando Rodney, but he might not be an option since he will want to close. In a related story, Brad Lidge “should be ready at or near the very beginning of spring training” following elbow surgery, says his agent Rex Gary.



– Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes that the Pirates won’t be major players in free agency yet again,
but they could have interest in lower-tier free agents like Rick
Ankiel, Jamey Wright, Mark Hendrickson and Japanese pitcher Ryota
Igarashi.




– Roch Kubato of the MASNSports.com wonders if the Orioles will consider signing Braden Looper, Jon Garland or Matt Treanor since the club was connected to them last winter.



– Jesse Spector of the New York Daily News takes a look some of the top set-up men available on the free agent market, and how arbitration and draft pick compensation may impact where they end up.

Jorge Soler diagnosed with strained oblique, Opening Day in doubt

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Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.

The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.

When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.

Report: Cardinals, Yadier Molina making “major progress” on contract extension

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Cardinals and catcher Yadier Molina are making “major progress” on a contract extension. Molina told the team he won’t discuss an extension during the season, hence the rapid progress.

Molina is entering the last guaranteed year of a five-year, $75 million contract signed in March 2012. He and the Cardinals hold a mutual option worth $15 million with a $2 million buyout for the 2018 season. The new extension would presumably cover at least the 2018-19 seasons and likely ’20 as well.

Molina is 34 years old but is still among the most productive catchers in baseball. Last season, he hit .307/.360/.427 with 38 doubles, 58 RBI, and 56 runs scored in 581 plate appearances. Though he has lost a step or two with age, Molina is still well-regarded for his defense. The Cardinals also value his ability to handle the pitching staff.