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.
The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.
Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.
The Phillies announced on Tuesday that the club traded pitcher Alec Asher to the Orioles for a player to be named later.
Asher, 25, was the victim of a roster crunch. He was not going to make the 25-man roster and the starting rotation at Triple-A Lehigh Valley was already full. The Phillies acquired him from the Rangers in the July 2015 Cole Hamels trade.
Asher had good results in 27 2/3 innings in the big leagues last year, posting a 2.28 ERA with a 13/4 K/BB ratio. While it didn’t show in those stats, the right-hander sometimes struggles with command and he doesn’t miss bats often enough to make up for it. The Orioles, however, are happy to add some pitching depth.