Rays to exercise $1.5 million option on Jose Molina

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From Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times comes word that the Rays are planning to exercise catcher Jose Molina’s $1.8 million club option for the 2013 season. It was that or pay a $300,000 buyout.

Molina batted .223/.286/.355 with eight home runs and 32 RBI in 102 games this season for the Rays while playing his usual brand of steady defense. He had a .281/.342/.415 slash line in 2011 with Toronto.

The 37-year-old brother of Bengie and Yadier seems likely to serve as a backup for Tampa Bay again in 2013, but he could take on a more involved role if the Rays can’t find themselves a front-line catcher on the open market this winter. There won’t be many available.

Molina has a .618 career OPS against righties and a .662 OPS against lefties, so a platoon is a possibility.

Report: Tigers to hire Ron Gardenhire as new manager

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The Tigers are expected to hire Ron Gardenhire as the team’s new manager upon completion of a contract, per Ken Rosenthal and Katie Strang of The Athletic. Gardenhire, 59, spent the 2017 season serving as the bench coach for the Diamondbacks.

Gardenhire managed the Twins for 13 seasons between 2002-14, amassing a 1,068-1,039 (.507) record in the regular season and reaching the playoffs six times.

According to Strang and Rosenthal, Gardenhire was one of 10 candidates to interview with the Tigers. Others included Alex Cora, Mike Redmond, Fredi Gonzalez, Joe McEwing, Hensley Meulens, Dave Clark, and Omar Vizquel. Apparently, GM Al Avila wanted a manager with previous major league managing experience.

The Tigers parted ways with previous manager Brad Ausmus at the end of the 2017 regular season, his fourth year at the helm.