From John Lott of Toronto’s National Post comes word that the Blue Jays have exercised catcher Jose Molina’s $1.2 million option for the 2011 season.
No surprise here. John Buck had an exceptional 2010 campaign as the Blue Jays’ starting catcher, tallying 20 homers and an 802 OPS over 409 at-bats, but he will be a free agent this offseason and is expected to land a multi-year contract with another club.
With that knowledge, the Jays decided to lock up Molina for one more year and use him in a platoon with young backstop J.P. Arencibia for the first few months of 2011. If Arencibia continues to develop as expected, he should be the starter in Toronto by the All-Star break.
Molina, 35, hit .246/.304/.377 this past season with six homers in 167 at-bats. Arencibia, 24, slugged 32 home runs in 412 at-bats for Triple-A Las Vegas.
The White Sox won’t make a bid for free agent outfielder Bryce Harper, Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reports. Believed to be the favorites to land shortstop Manny Machado in free agency, the White Sox watched him ink a 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres. The club is apparently content with its roster otherwise.
Harper would certainly be an upgrade in the outfield, which currently features Adam Engel, Nicky Delmonico, and Jon Jay. It will soon feature prospects Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert.
Last season, Harper hit .249/.393/.496 with 34 hom eruns, 100 RBI, 103 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 695 plate appearances. He led all of baseball, drawing 130 walks. Harper is also a six-time All-Star who won the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year Award and the 2015 NL Most Valuable Player Award.
The Phillies are still believed to be the favorites to sign Harper and the club is confident it will land him, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Daily News reports.