From John Lott of Toronto’s National Post comes word that the Blue Jays have exercised catcher Jose Molina’s $1.2 million option for the 2011 season.
No surprise here. John Buck had an exceptional 2010 campaign as the Blue Jays’ starting catcher, tallying 20 homers and an 802 OPS over 409 at-bats, but he will be a free agent this offseason and is expected to land a multi-year contract with another club.
With that knowledge, the Jays decided to lock up Molina for one more year and use him in a platoon with young backstop J.P. Arencibia for the first few months of 2011. If Arencibia continues to develop as expected, he should be the starter in Toronto by the All-Star break.
Molina, 35, hit .246/.304/.377 this past season with six homers in 167 at-bats. Arencibia, 24, slugged 32 home runs in 412 at-bats for Triple-A Las Vegas.
The Associated Press is reporting that the spring training schedule will be shortened by two days starting in 2018. That change comes as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, which was agreed to last month.
Specifically, the voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers, and injured players has been changed to 43 days before the start of the regular season, down from 45. For the rest of the players, the reporting date is 38 days before the start of the regular season, down from 40.
The change goes hand-in-hand with allowing teams 187 days, rather than 183, to complete their 162-game regular season schedule.
While just about everyone seems to be in agreement that the spring training exhibition schedule is too long, team owners are likely very hesitant to shorten that part of the spring schedule because it would cost them money. So they’re just allowing players to arrive to camp a couple of days later.
Update (7:05 PM EST): The Rays and Dodgers have both announced the trade.
Update (6:57 PM EST): That was fast. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports the two sides have agreed to the trade. Forsythe for De Leon. An announcement is expected shortly.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the Dodgers and Rays are “deep into discussions” on a trade involving second baseman Logan Forsythe. Passan adds that the two sides have discussed pitcher Jose De Leon — the Dodgers’ top pitching prospect — as part of the return for Forsythe, but it’s unclear if he’s in the deal currently being discussed.
Forsythe, 30, hit a productive .264/.333/.444 with 20 home runs and 52 RBI in 567 plate appearances in 2016. He was even better the year before, finishing with an .804 OPS. Forsythe can fill the Dodgers’ obvious need at second base, but he also has experience playing third base, first base, shortstop, and corner outfield.
Forsythe is entering the second year of his two-year, $10.25 million contract extension with the Rays. He’ll earn $5.75 million in 2017 and his controlling team has an $8.5 million club option with a $1 million buyout for the 2018 season.