Cardinals and Yadier Molina closing in on five-year, $70-75M extension

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UPDATE: Rosenthal reports that the two sides are closing in on a five-year deal in the $70-75 million range.

Molina would make $14-15 million per season if Rosenthal is correct, which would give him the second-highest AAV (average annual value) for a catcher ever behind Joe Mauer’s current eight-year, $184 million contract ($23 million).

As Rosenthal notes, only six catchers have ever signed long-term deals which averaged more than $10 million per season: Mauer, Mike Piazza, Jason Kendall, Jorge Posada, Ivan Rodriguez and Jason Varitek.

7:28 PM: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Cardinals and Molina are “very close” to agreeing on a five-year extension worth more than $60 million.

5:44 PM: Last week the Cardinals and Yadier Molina were said to be making good progress on a long-term contract extension and now Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that “terms are all but finalized.”

According to Strauss an agreement is expected to be in place by Friday and “both sides are very optimistic.”

Molina is currently slated to be a free agent next offseason, finishing up a five-year, $21.75 million deal that has proven to be a bargain for the Cardinals. Most speculation about his new deal has guessed 4-5 seasons at $10-12 million per year, which would be one of the five largest contracts ever for a catcher.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to minor-league deal

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The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.