Adam Jones: “I would slap Jim Palmer around”

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File this under “good-natured jab,” not “trash talk,” but it’s still fun:

What would happen if Adam Jones faced Jim Palmer in his prime?  Jones answered that and many more questions in a live online Q&A with MASNSports.com‘s Amber Theoharis on Wednesday afternoon.

“I would slap Jim Palmer around,” Jones quickly responded.  ”I told Palmer that,” he laughed with Amber.

Jones added that Palmer would have more difficulty today with umpires using a smaller zone. “They had that chest high strike zone back then.”

So he’s being funny, yes, but he also has a good point about that high strike.  I came of baseball age when Jim Palmer was still dealing and I can’t remember how many times I heard Ernie Harwell say “a strike at the letters …”  The only time you ever see a strike at the letters called these days is on a 3-0 count when the hitter makes it clear from the time the pitcher sets that he has no intention of swinging.

The zone has changed pretty radically over the years. Just one of those things a lot of people forget when talking about the crazy offense we saw in the 90s and 2000s.

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.