Pat Burrell expected to retire at age 35

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No official word yet, but Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors reports that Pat Burrell will announce his retirement following a 12-year career.

Burrell got back on track after a miserable one-and-a-half season stint with the Rays, returning to the NL with the Giants while hitting .259 with 25 homers and an .827 OPS in 560 plate appearances.

Those numbers basically match his career marks, but Burrell’s foot problems made staying in the lineup difficult and his lack of defensive value likely would have made it tough to land a full-time job anyway.

Burrell never quite developed into the superstar many projected from the No. 1 overall pick in the 1998 draft, as his offense was very good rather than great and his defense dragged down his overall value, but he smacked 20-plus homers nine times and among all active right-handed hitters with at least 5,000 plate appearances his .834 OPS ranks 11th.

And now Burrell–or at least his alter ego “The Machine”–will have plenty of time to play dress-up with Brian Wilson.

Yadier Molina responds to Willson Contreras on Instagram

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On Monday, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras showed he was very confident heading into the 2018 season, saying, “I know that I’m going to be better than [Yadier Molina and Buster Posey].” Contreras explained that his goal is to become “the best catcher in the game for a long time — like it was with Yadier Molina, like it is with Buster Posey.”

Apparently, Contreras ruffled Molina’s feathers as the Cardinals’ veteran backstop took to Instagram to respond. Posting a picture of himself with Buster Posey and Salvador Perez, Molina wrote, “Respeten los rangos NOVATOS!! aqui con los q si han probao que son los duros!!” That loosely translates to “respect the ranks,” referring to Contreras as a novice.

Molina is no stranger to using Instagram to air his grievances. He apparently used the social media app to take a swipe or two at manager Mike Matheny last year.

Of course, Molina seems to be misreading the intent of Contreras. Contreras seems to think highly of Molina, having referred to him as being one of the best catchers in the game — even if it was in the past tense. Molina should know, being someone who also competes at the highest level, that having confidence is an important part of the recipe for success. Perhaps this will make for some interesting games during the season, breathing new life into the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry.