Yadier Molina and Cardinals moving closer to extension

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Yesterday the Cardinals were said to have “re-engaged” in contract talks with Yadier Molina after negotiations were previously tabled and now Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the two sides could be nearing a deal.

According to Strauss “movement on Molina is significant enough that source familiar with the situation believes agreement could be reached within a week.”

Last night our own Matthew Pouliot crunched some numbers on recent catcher contracts and speculated that $44 million over four years could be a reasonable fit. That may not seem like a mega-contract, but it would actually be one of the five largest deals ever for a catcher.

Molina is heading into the final season of a five-year, $21.75 million deal and coming off a career-year at age 28.

Rays trade Jake Odorizzi to Twins

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The Rays have traded right-hander Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, per team announcements on Saturday evening. The Twins will receive minor league shortstop Jermaine Palacios in the deal. Despite previous speculation, recently-DFA’d outfielder Corey Dickerson was not included in the trade.

With Odorizzi, the Twins finally have the front-end starter they’ve been seeking all winter. It’s a bargain deal as well, as the 27-year-old righty is under contract through 2019 and didn’t require the club to part with any of their top-shelf prospects in the trade. Odorizzi will be looking to stage a comeback in 2018 after a dismal performance with the Rays last year, during which he eked out a career-worst 4.14 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 through 143 1/3 innings.

Palacios, 21, ranked no. 27 in the Twins’ system last season. He split his year between Single-A Cedar Rapids and High-A Fort Myers, raking a combined .296/.333/.454 with 13 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 539 plate appearances. He’s expected to continue developing at shortstop, though he’s also seen limited time at second and third base during his four-year career in the minors.