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Chase Utley is narrowing down his choices

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Unlike a lot of unsigned players, Chase Utley seems to have his choice of gigs. That’s probably a function of (a) his excellent reputation as a good clubhouse guy and hard worker; and (b) the fact that he probably isn’t asking for much dough and probably doesn’t expect a starting spot.

As for the choice of gigs, Ken Rosenthal reports that Utley has narrowed his choices down to four contending teams. We don’t know them all, but he was recently rumored to be talking to the Indians and the Dodgers have suggested that they have not ruled out bringing him back.

Utley is likely still useful if you give him good matchups and rest him properly. He posted a .252/.319/.396 batting line with 14 homers and 79 runs scored in 138 games in 2016. As a well-liked backup/mentor type, that will still play.

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.