The Molina trade makes sense for everyone

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My first thought when I saw that the Giants were unloading Bengie Molina on the Rangers last night: Wow, if the Mets had only gone multiple years and, like, ten million bucks, he could have been theirs! My next thought:  this works for everyone involved.

The Giants needed to find a permanent home for Buster Posey. They also needed to find a more comfortable home for Aubrey Huff. Now the former can catch, where his bat is more valuable and the latter can play first base where his glove is less vulnerable. Molina wasn’t hitting to save his life, so this is addition by subtraction as well, and now the Giants can pursue first base and/or left field options if they want to add a much-needed bat.

For the Rangers this makes sense too, if only because they are one of the few teams for which Molina represents an offensive upgrade behind the plate. The Rangers once were so rich in catching talent that there were rumors of the Red Sox shopping Clay Buchholz to Texas to get in on some of that, but for the past year it’s been a nightmare behind the plate. At least now can pencil in Molina behind the plate in the 9th spot of the order and be done fretting about it.

The Chris Ray-to-the-Giants portion of this trade is gravy. With him leaving, and a bunch of cash coming back to Texas, the deal helps the strapped Rangers take on Molina’s salary.  This morning Buster Olney tweeted that this could be a model for a more significant trade by the Rangers inasmuch as, if they send a big ugly contract like Rich Harden plus some added sweetener in the form of better prospects to, say, Seattle, they could still get someone like Cliff Lee.

Makes sense, though in the long term it kinda stinks for Rangers fans that the team has to overpay in terms of prospects simply because the guys in the suits couldn’t get their business and legal house in order fast enough. But such is the way of the world.

Jason Kipnis diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs (not pictured) during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.

There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.

Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.

Report: Cardinals are scouting Cuban outfielder Luis Robert

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 25: Baseballs sit in the St. Louis Cardinals dugout prior to a game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on April 25, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by David Welker/Getty Images)
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According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.

There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.

Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.