Do Yankees really think Miranda can be the DH?

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Yesterday general manager Brian Cashman “cut off a question about not having a designated hitter” and insisted that “Juan Miranda can be a DH,” which is noteworthy following this afternoon’s news that Hideki Matsui is close to signing with the Angels.
“I don’t want to over-sell anybody, but I think Juan Miranda will do a nice job against right-handed pitching if that’s what we have to do,” Cashman said. “Is that the right way to go? I think the market will dictate that.”
I’d certainly bet against the Yankees trusting a 27-year-old, largely unknown career minor leaguer as their primary DH, but regardless of the likelihood could Miranda actually do the job? He’s hit .280/.366/.474 in three minor-league seasons, including .288/.375/.476 in 221 games at Triple-A, which while solid certainly doesn’t suggest outstanding production in the majors.
Based on those numbers Baseball Think Factory projects Miranda to hit just .246/.317/.391 in 2010. Cashman noted that the Yankees would platoon Miranda, which would certainly benefit the left-handed hitter and make him likely to top that projection, but his track record just doesn’t show enough power or plate discipline to believe that he should be a legitimate DH option for a team like New York.

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.