Yankees wait to bid on Cuban defector

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So says George King of the New York Post:

Do
the Yankees have their sights on Derek Jeter’s eventual replacement,
who also could be a future center fielder who nudges Curtis Granderson
to left?

If I didn’t know any better, I think King
just told me this kid can play two positions at the same time. Crazy.
But seriously, King reports that the Yankees are expected to bid on
Cuban defector Adeiny Hechavarria once he is “unblocked” by the Office
of Foreign Assets Committee, or OFAC. The OFAC are currently verifying
his age — allegedly 21 years old — identity and residency, although
they may be finished as soon as next week. Hechavarria, a veteran of
the Cuban junior national team, defected to Mexico last year.

I
don’t know any more than I’ve read in the past few days, but there are
more than a few scouts who have said he is a better prospect than
19-year-old Jose Iglesias, who signed with the Red Sox in September.
The Angels were also linked to Hechavarria earlier this week.

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.