Dontrelle Willis joins Vladimir Guerrero on Long Island Ducks

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Dontrelle Willis and Vladimir Guerrero are going to be teammates.

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that Willlis, who was released by the Cubs at the end of spring training, has signed with the independent league Long Island Ducks, who also announced a deal with Vladimir Guerrero this morning.

Hard to say who has a better chance of getting back to the majors at this point. Guerrero is 38 years old, didn’t play in the majors last season, and is pretty much limited to designated hitter duties by now, which as Jim Thome can tell you is an awfully tough market. On the other hand Willis is just 31, but hasn’t been effective in the majors since 2006. Seriously, 2006.

I guess the correct answer is probably “neither” but at least the Atlantic League will be a little more interesting to watch for a while.

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.