It was reported last month that Justin Masterson was open to a long-term deal with the Indians, but FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal hears that the team is willing to listen to trade offers.
Masterson is just one year away from free agency, so the Indians would prefer pieces that they can control for the long-term. The 28-year-old right-hander earned $5.6875 million this past season while posting a 3.45 ERA and 195/76 K/BB ratio over 193 innings. He’s due another raise in arbitration this winter and could be poised for a big-money contract next offseason if he remains healthy and effective in 2014.
The Indians’ rotation could have a very different look next year, as Scott Kazmir has already left for a two-year, $22 million contract with the Athletics while Ubaldo Jimenez is expected to receive one of the biggest contracts among free agent starters.
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.