UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com says it’s a done deal. Minor-league contract.
Hideki Okajima took a year off Major League Baseball and kicked some butt back in Japan, posting a a 0.94 ERA in 48 innings for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. Now he’s coming back and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that he and the A’s are close to a deal. She first reported their interest a couple of weeks ago.
She doesn’t say the nature of the deal, but it’s presumably a minor league contract.
Yadier Molina has two World Series rings, multiple Gold Gloves, Platinum Gloves, All-Star appearances and a Silver Slugger award. He now has an all-time record too.
The record: the most games caught with one team. Last night he caught his 1756th career game with the Cardinals, with ties him with Gabby Hartnett of the Cubs, who last caught in 1941 and set the record in 1940, his last season with Chicago. Molina will break the record next time he dons the tools of ignorance, likely tonight against the Phillies.
Given how badly catchers get beaten up — and Molina has taken a beating at times in his career — and given how well mastery of the position leads to a catcher earning journeyman status, as it were, it’s quite a thing to catch that many games for one team.
Given that Molina is under contract with the Cardinals for two more seasons and has stated his desire to retire a Cardinal many times, he’s likely to put that record so far out of reach that it’ll likely take at least another 78 years to break it, if indeed it is ever broken.