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Matt Wieters is drawing interest from the Rays

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The Rays are rumored to be one of the “new teams” in on veteran catcher Matt Wieters, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. It’s no secret that Wieters’ market is shrinking as the offseason wears on, which has most often been attributed to his declining offense over the past two years, lingering elbow injuries and a high price tag.

Earlier this month, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal spoke to Wieters’ agent, Scott Boras, who revealed that the veteran backstop lacerated his left forearm with a glass water bottle in November. Boras added that there was no nerve damage to Wieters’ arm, but the injury could give teams some pause as they consider making a contract offer in 2017.

Heyman also speculates that the Rays will be something of a long shot for Wieters, especially after they committed a two-year, $12.5 million contract to fellow veteran catcher Wilson Ramos last December. Ramos is expected to miss the first month of the season as he recovers from knee surgery and could ease back into catching duties after spending some time at DH in May. While that appears to leave an open door for Wieters, the club has a platoon option available in 28-year-old Curt Casali and 26-year-old Luke Maile.

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.