Cardinals and Yadier Molina closing in on five-year, $70-75M extension

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UPDATE: Rosenthal reports that the two sides are closing in on a five-year deal in the $70-75 million range.

Molina would make $14-15 million per season if Rosenthal is correct, which would give him the second-highest AAV (average annual value) for a catcher ever behind Joe Mauer’s current eight-year, $184 million contract ($23 million).

As Rosenthal notes, only six catchers have ever signed long-term deals which averaged more than $10 million per season: Mauer, Mike Piazza, Jason Kendall, Jorge Posada, Ivan Rodriguez and Jason Varitek.

7:28 PM: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Cardinals and Molina are “very close” to agreeing on a five-year extension worth more than $60 million.

5:44 PM: Last week the Cardinals and Yadier Molina were said to be making good progress on a long-term contract extension and now Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that “terms are all but finalized.”

According to Strauss an agreement is expected to be in place by Friday and “both sides are very optimistic.”

Molina is currently slated to be a free agent next offseason, finishing up a five-year, $21.75 million deal that has proven to be a bargain for the Cardinals. Most speculation about his new deal has guessed 4-5 seasons at $10-12 million per year, which would be one of the five largest contracts ever for a catcher.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.