An important part of that big trade with the Blue Jays for the Marlins was to get themselves a shortstop to replace Jose Reyes. But it’s not gonna be the guy who played most of the time at shortstop for the Blue Jays:
The Marlins also appear to be leaning toward playing [Adeiny] Hechavarria at shortstop and moving Escobar, a career shortstop, to third base. The infielders from Cuba are very good defensively. Hechavarria is a 23-year-old who appeared in 41 games for Toronto last year.
“There is a shortstop who could become one of the great Cuban signs of all time,” Samson said during his radio interview. “A perennial All-Star, supposedly. But he has to do it.”
Hechavarria, who will be 24 in April, played in 41 games for Toronto during his rookie season. He hit .254/.280/.365. He has hit .272/.314/.381 in 1548 minor league plate appearances. He has the glove, arm and range to be a strong major league defensive shortstop, but the plate discipline, she is poor.
With young pitching, though, you figure that the Marlins are way better off with a solid glove guy at short than Escobar who, while good, just turned 30, will likely decline in that department over time and is probably not a bad bet to make the not-uncommon move from short to third.
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.
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.