Mike Minor: start me in the majors or trade me

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Braves starter Mike Minor is likely to be the Braves’ fifth starter. But yesterday he made it clear that, if there’s any doubt about that, he’d just as soon be traded:

“Overall, it’s not really – it’s about making the team, but if … I can control my third pitch and have a decent fourth pitch, then there’s no reason I shouldn’t pitch in the big leagues somewhere. If they don’t have room for me here, then there’s no reason they shouldn’t trade me or just do something with me.”

He sort of backed off that later, saying that the Braves should trade him if he hasn’t earned his spot in the rotation.  Which is sort of the same, but definitely different in tone.  His original comments make it seem like he thinks he’s already earned it and deserves to start before Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado.  And he’s probably right about that.

Thing is, it’s all probably moot.  With the 1-2-3 in that rotation being Tim Hudson, Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson — all three either injury risks, injury bouncebacks and/or trade candidates — Minor, Teheran and Delgado will all likely have a place in that rotation alongside Brandon Beachy and one of the remaining 1-2-3 this time next year. If not sooner.

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.