BREAKING: The Mets owners have settled with the bankruptcy trustee for $162 million

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UPDATE: Richard Sandomir reports that the settlement is for $162 million.

This is still a hefty chunk of change, but it is less than the liability they faced. And, more importantly, it brings certainty to what has been an uncertain liability hanging over the team’s head for a couple of years now.

9:27 AM: The trial involving the Mets owners and the bankruptcy trustee in the Bernie Madoff mess was to begin this morning.  Minutes ago, however, it was announced that the parties have reached a settlement.

This was not expected. And at the moment we have no details.  We’ll update as soon as we learn some.

Instant reaction, though: My guess is the Wilpons and Saul Katz don’t settle unless it allows them enough financial comfort to keep control of their most treasured asset, the New York Mets.

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.