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Rays sign Wilson Ramos to a two-year deal

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Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Rays and catcher Wilson Ramos have agreed to a two-year contract. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports provides the details: the deal has $12.5 million guaranteed with an additional $5.75 million available in playing time incentives.

Ramos, 29, tore his ACL and meniscus in his right knee near the end of the regular season. Prior to that, he was in the midst of a career year, batting .307/.354/.496 with 22 home runs and 80 RBI in 523 plate appearances. Had Ramos not suffered his injury, he likely would have commanded an even longer contract for more money.

Ramos will begin the 2017 season on the disabled list but could be available before summer begins. At any rate, the two-year deal affords Ramos the ability to rehab with no pressure to return earlier than necessary. Luke Maile and Curt Casali will handle catching while Ramos is out.

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.