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Report: Indians “pulling out all the stops” for Edwin Encarnacion

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The defending American League champion Indians are reportedly “pulling out all the stops” for free agent 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacionaccording to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

The Indians have been in pursuit of a free agent first baseman, having also been linked to Mike Napoli, Mark Trumbo, Chris Carter, and Adam Lind. Meanwhile, Encarnacion has reportedly received multi-year offers from six teams, per his agent Paul Kinzer.

Encarnacion, who turns 34 years old next month, had a terrific 2016 season, batting .263/.357/.529 with 42 home runs and 127 RBI in 702 plate appearances. The Indians got decent production from the first base position out of Napoli, but Encarnacion would be a big upgrade.

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.