Bud Black won’t have to hear the words “lame duck” anytime soon. The Padres announced this evening that they have picked up the club options on his contract for both 2014 and 2015.
Here’s a statement from general manager Josh Byrnes:
“Buddy has a keen insight into team dynamics and creates a great environment for the players and coaching staff,” said Byrnes. “He is a gifted leader with a terrific mind for the game and a genuine interest and curiosity related to all areas of our organization.”
Black took over as Padres manager prior to the 2007 season after Bruce Bochy was hired by the Giants. He has a 464-509 (.477) record during his tenure with the club, including winning seasons in 2007 and 2010. While the Padres were 76-86 this year, Black’s club finished on a high note by going 42-33 after the All-Star break.
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.