Todd Helton is one of the most productive home hitters ever

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In the wake of Rockies first baseman Todd Helton announcing that he’s retiring after the season I was curious about just how much his Coors Field-aided home production stands out.

Thanks to Baseball-Reference.com’s amazing Play Index, here are the active leaders in OPS at home:

TODD HELTON       1.048
Albert Pujols     1.014
Matt Holliday      .999
Carlos Gonzalez    .992
Miguel Cabrera     .988

No hitter has been more productive at their home ballparks than Helton and along with Matt Holliday and Carlos Gonzalez three of the top five home OPS totals belong to current or former Rockies. On the other hand, for career OPS on the road among active players Helton ranks 24th at .856–nearly 200 points below his home mark–and Holliday and Gonzalez rank 37th and 101st.

And here are the all-time leaders in home OPS:

Babe Ruth         1.184
Ted Williams      1.148
Hank Greenberg    1.121
Jimmie Foxx       1.116
Larry Walker      1.068
Barry Bonds       1.067
Lou Gehrig        1.056
TODD HELTON       1.048
Rogers Hornsby    1.032

That’s basically a list of the greatest hitters of all time, plus two really, really good hitters who played a long time with Coors Field as their home ballpark.

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.