Rick Porcello isn't getting traded, he's being promoted

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Remember how Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com wondered out loud why the Tigers would push back Rick Porcello’s start with Triple-A Toledo, suggesting it could be trade-related? Yeah, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com, Tigers manager Jim Leyland didn’t take too kindly to that.

“There’s a rumor going around, I don’t know if anybody’s read it, about
Rick Porcello being traded,” Leyland said. “I want to make this
perfectly clear: That is a blatant lie. I don’t even know where it came
from. That’s a blatant lie and it’s irresponsible journalism. There’s not
a chance that Rick Porcello is going to be traded. That’s a lie. That’s
not even speculation. That’s a total lie. …

Ouch. You’re still okay in our book, Morosi.

Perhaps most importantly, Leyland also said that Porcello will return to the big leagues for next weekend’s series against the Indians. I don’t want Leyland to get mad at me by speculating, but the fact that the Tigers requested Porcello’s next start be pushed back by a day may have something to do with that.       

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.