Rangers “recently met with” free agent Zack Greinke

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Here’s the report from Jon Heyman of CBS Sports:

The Rangers, hoping to lure top free-agent target Zack Greinke with their winning ways and strong roster, recently met with the pitcher, sources said.

The Dodgers are widely considered the favorite for Greinke because of their seemingly-endless budget and the right-hander’s desire for a record-breaking deal. But the Rangers can spend with the best of ’em and could have quite a bit of expendable cash if they don’t re-sign Josh Hamilton.

The Angels have also met recently with Greinke and his representatives, and the Nationals could be a darkhorse.

Greinke posted a stellar 3.48 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 200/54 K/BB ratio in 212 1/3 innings this past season between Milwaukee and Anaheim. The 29-year-old boasts a 3.77 career ERA and a 1.25 career WHIP.

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.