Twins join Cubs in hunt for reliever Jason Frasor

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Earlier this week the Cubs were said to be interested in Jason Frasor, and now the Twins have reportedly joined the mix for the Blue Jays’ reliever following news that Joe Nathan likely needs season-ending Tommy John surgery.
Frasor is a solid reliever coming off a career-year, but prior to posting a 2.50 ERA in 2009 he had ERAs of 4.32, 4.58, and 4.18 in the previous three seasons and his career xFIP is 4.05. He’s been talked about as a potential replacement for Nathan because he spent part of last season closing for Toronto, but based on ability rather than save totals he’s really more a setup man and the Twins have plenty of similar in-house options already.
Frasor is an impending free agent and affordable at just $2.65 million, so if the Blue Jays aren’t looking for much in return he’d be a solid addition for the Cubs or Twins. However, because he’s likely to qualify as a Type B free agent and could even jump into Type A status with a good 2010 the Blue Jays may be inclined to ask for at least as much value as a supplemental draft pick.

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.