That didn’t take long: Jim Baumbach of Newsday is walking back the notion that Jeter really asked for $150 million. He tweets:
Person familiar with Yankees-Jeter negotiations says Jeter camp is not asking for reported $150 million over six years. It’s less than that.
He didn’t say if it’s less money or fewer years or both.
While keeping in mind the notion that negotiations are fluid things and that people leaking things always have agendas and counter-agendas when it comes to this sort of thing, I am not really all that inclined to believe that Bill Madden’s report of the demand was wrong. Thew incentives for someone in the “Jeter/Close camp” to make that up are low. The incentives for them to deny that now — after a few hours of mockery over the reported demand — are super high.
My guess: Madden’s information related to a prior demand, since laughed out of the room by the Yankees, and now the Baumbach’s source is accurate, technically speaking. If that were the case it doesn’t change the insanity of the demand, and Baumbach’s report doesn’t constitute a denial.
But hey, thank goodness there’s a push on this winter to keep free agent negotiations out of the press!
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.
Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon achieved a rare feat during Monday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition against the Orioles: he homered twice in one inning. One of those homers happened to be a grand slam.
Leon led off the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run off of Logan Verrett. Verrett continued to get knocked around, giving up three singles and a walk before being relieved by Brian Moran. Moran gave up a walk to load the bases, then a single to knock in a run and keep the bases loaded. Leon stepped back to the plate and swatted a grand slam to left field, making it an eight-run fifth for the Red Sox. The Sox would tack on one more before the inning was mercifully ended.
How often do players homer twice in one inning during the regular season? Not that often. Since 2010, the feat has been accomplished four times in the American League and twice in the National League. The Orioles’ Mark Trumbo was the only one to do it last year.
As for Leon, he’s on track to open the season as the starting catcher in Boston, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reported last week.