Joe Girardi is staying with the Yankees

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Well, this is going to make the Cubs sad.

Joe Girardi will return as Yankees manager, signing a four-year contract extension rather than hitting the open market as a free agent in a few weeks.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that Girardi will get $16 million over four years, so the Cubs’ oft-reported interest helped boost the price tag from his current $3 million salary. Now he’s in New York through 2017, choosing to stay with a Yankees team in a state of flux rather than trying to embark on a full-scale rebuild with the Cubs or perhaps join a ready-made contender with the Nationals.

Girardi has a 564-408 (.580) record in six seasons with the Yankees, including 85-77 with an injury wrecked roster this season. He’s won three AL East titles and one World Series during that time, and general manager Brian Cashman has always made it very clear that he wanted Girardi back.

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.