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Report: Indians can’t afford Rajai Davis after spending on Encarnacion

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If Indians want Rajai Davis back, it’s going to cost them. A report from Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer revealed that the club has interest in bringing their center fielder back on board in 2017, but are short on cash after inking Edwin Encarnacion to a three-year, $60 million deal this winter.

The 36-year-old outfielder batted .249/.306/.388 with 12 home runs for the Indians in 2016, leading the league with 43 steals and coming just three bases shy of his career-best stolen base mark. His speed and defense should make it easy for him to find a spot on a major league roster, Pluto writes, noting that he thinks the veteran has often been undervalued due to his age and lack of power.

Davis hasn’t attracted a lot of attention so far this offseason, but that doesn’t mean the Indians should sleep on him. Pluto reports that the team has a serviceable center fielder in Abraham Almonte, who is expected to platoon with Tyler Naquin in 2017 if the club can’t find the money to attract Davis. After serving an 80-day suspension for PED use, Almonte slashed .264/.294/.401 with a home run and eight stolen bases in his second season with the Indians.

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.