Rays appear close to signing veteran C Jose Molina
While the agent for free agent catcher Jose Molina says there's nothing concrete at this point, it appears the Rays could be getting close to a deal with the veteran.
Foxsports.com's Jon Paul Morosi, citing major league sources, reports Molina is nearing a one-year contract with Tampa Bay that includes an option for the 2013 season.
The Rays declined to comment.
Molina, 36, has been a backup primarily his entire 12-year big-league career, but would provide strong defense and experience to the Rays catching tandem next season (as well as strong knowledge of AL East teams). With the Rays choosing to decline catcher Kelly Shoppach's $3 million option for next year, executive VP Andrew Friedman was looking to address the position this offseason.
Molina, who has played for the Cubs, Angels, Yankees and Blue Jays, hit .281 with three homers and 15 RBI last season for Toronto in 55 games. A career .241 hitter from the right side, Molina doesn't provide a lot of pop (his career-high is six homers), but he's known for his work behind the plate, including throwing out 40-percent of attempted base-stealers in his career (along with a .994 career fielding percentage). Molina made $1 million last year for the Jays.
The most games Molina has started in a season is 81 (in 2008 with the Yankees), but Friedman said earlier this week it was more likely the Rays would go with a platoon-situation anyway
"It's just a demanding position," Friedman said. "Basically a 100-60/62 (split). Who knows? We might get into a sitaution 80-80. It depends on the players involved."
The Rays other options at catcher entering spring training will be rookies C Jose Lobaton and Robinson Chrinos, along with C John Jaso. Tampa Bay tried to give Lobaton and Chirinos a look last season, with both getting some experience in the big leagues, but they're still trying to figure out what they have in them. With both not offering enough offense, and Shoppach the better defensive option, he got more playing time down the stretch.
"They were pretty limited samples, it's hard to draw too much," Friedman said earlier this week about Lobaton and Chirinos. "I think both of them came up ready to work and prepare. And we hold catchers to a different standard than we do other positions, and we think they relish that."