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.

Jesus Luzardo beats Marlins in salary arbitration

Atlanta Braves v Miami Marlins
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Pitcher Jesus Luzardo became the second player in two days to beat the Miami Marlins in salary arbitration and was awarded $2.45 million.

Miami had argued for $2.1 million during a hearing Thursday before a panel of John Stout, Melinda Gordon and Richard Bloch.

AL batting champion Luis Arraez, an All-Star infielder acquired by the Marlins from Minnesota last month, was awarded a $6.1 million salary on Thursday rather than the team’s $5 million figure.

Luzardo, a 25-year-old left-hander, was 4-7 with a 3.32 ERA in 18 starts last year, striking out 120 and walking 35 in 100 1/3 innings. He is 13-18 with a 3.59 ERA in 45 starts and 16 relief appearances over four big league seasons.

Luzardo made $715,000 last season and was eligible for arbitration for the first time. He can become a free agent after the 2026 season.

Players have won two of three decisions this year, with about 20 more scheduled for hearings.

Seattle defeated Diego Castillo in the first decision this year on Wednesday, and the relief pitcher will get a raise to $2.95 million rather than his request of $3,225,000.

A decision is being held for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe, whose case was argued Monday.