Orioles to interview Jerry Dipoto and Tony LaCava for general manager this week

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Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles will interview Jerry Dipoto and Tony LaCava this week for their vacant general manager post.

Dipoto, who impressed many around baseball when he took over as Diamondbacks’ interim general manager after Josh Byrnes was fired last July, served as vice president of scouting and player development this season under new general manager Kevin Towers.

LaCava joined the Blue Jays in late-2002 and current serves as assistant general manager, overseeing the club’s farm system and operations in Latin America.

Dipoto is scheduled to interview tomorrow while LaCava will meet with the club on Wednesday. According to Connolly, the Orioles are still awaiting permission to speak with Marlins assistant general manager Dan Jennings.

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.