B.J. Upton was reportedly claimed off revocable waivers by an undisclosed team, but it’s a moot point now because the 48-hour window for the Rays to make a deal has passed.
Tampa Bay pulled him back off waivers, meaning Upton is ineligible to be traded this season. He’s under team control for next season via arbitration and it likely makes more sense for the Rays to shop him around again once their options aren’t limited.
Several teams have been linked to Upton, with the Nationals perhaps being connected to him most often dating back to the July 31 trade deadline.
With Desmond Jennings waiting in the wings as a replacement in center field and Upton set to earn at least $6 million in 2012 despite another disappointing season he seemingly doesn’t fit into the Rays’ always budget-conscious plans any longer.
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.
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.