The Yankees are still interested in Scott Hairston

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In past years I would not make much of an effort to post about the Yankees’ possible interest in role players, but in a world where their failure to land guys like Jeff Keppinger and Nate Schierholtz actually upsets people, this is relevant:

The Yankees starting outfield is Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Ichiro Suzuki … The Yankees still have an interest in signing another outfielder and remain interested in Scott Hairston.

This comes from Kevin Kernan in his column about the Matt Diaz signing, which suggests that the Yankees are not content to go with those three starters, Diaz and a prayer. Hairston hit .263/.299/.504 with 20 homers and 57 RBI in 377 at-bats with the Mets last year. The OBP is scary, but the pop and flexibility — Hairston can play all three outfield positions — would be welcome. Especially if Ichiro reverts to his 2011-early-2012 form.

Earlier this offseason it was reported that Hairston wanted a multi-year deal. The Yankees have been loathe to do that with anyone — they were forced to do so with Ichiro thanks to a bidding war — so it’s not at all certain that Hairston would be interested in pinstripes. Especially considering that the Cardinals, Giants, Indians and Tigers had previously expressed interest.

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.