Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Indians have signed catcher Yan Gomes to a six-year, $23 million contract extension which includes two option years. The 26-year-old was not eligible for arbitration until after the 2015 season. The contract buys out all three arbitration years and one year of free agency. Per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Gomes’ deal is a record for a catcher not yet eligible for arbitration.
Gomes split time behind the plate last year with Carlos Santana. Santana, however, has moved to third base so Gomes should get a vast majority of the playing time as the Indians’ catcher. Gomes finished the 2013 season with an .826 OPS. According to weighted on-base average (wOBA) from FanGraphs, Gomes was the fifth-best hitting catcher in baseball, minimum 300 plate appearances. At .359, he trailed Joe Mauer, Santana, Yadier Molina, and Jason Castro. He ranked just ahead of Buster Posey.
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.