Sometimes it seems like everyone is out to get the Rays:
The Florida Department of Transportation has cried foul over advertisements for other businesses the ball club places on its electronic billboard overlooking Interstate 275. Under state law, signs that overlook a highway can advertise only stores and businesses at that location, unless specially permitted.
So the Rays, which has never had a permit for the sign, can use the 114-foot high billboard to advertise its ball games, events and concerts at the Trop. It can even advertise Chick-fil-A and other businesses with outlets at the stadium.
Advertisements such as one state transportation officials spotted for a local car dealership are off limits without a special permit, though, state officials say.
Meanwhile, St. Petersburg is still ready to drop the hammer on the Rays if they even talk to anyone else about moving.
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.