UPDATE: Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago reports that the deal is “close” and that the Cubs would receive two minor-leaguers along with Wood.
10:29 PM ET: The Reds landed Mat Latos in a blockbuster deal over the weekend, but they aren’t done on the trade front.
Ken Rosenthal on FOXSports.com reports that they are currently discussing a deal with the Cubs for left-hander Sean Marshall. Chicago is said to be eyeing left-hander Travis Wood, a pitcher who intrigued team president Theo Epstein when he was general manager of the Red Sox last season. It’s not known what other players might be in the deal.
Marshall has emerged as one of the best relievers in the game over the past two seasons, posting a quality 2.45 ERA and 169/42 K/BB ratio over 150 1/3 innings while handling righties and lefties with nearly equal aplomb. The 29-year-old left-hander is due $3.1 million next season before hitting free agency.
Wood had a disappointing 4.84 ERA in 18 starts and four relief appearances at the major league level this past season, but showed plenty of promise when he posted a 3.51 ERA and 86/26 K/BB ratio over 102 2/3 innings as a rookie in 2010. The 24-year-old southpaw doesn’t throw all that hard and profiles as a fly ball pitcher, but this is a pretty good time to attempt to buy low.
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.