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Rays pick up option on Jose Molina, decline option on Luke Scott

ST. PETERSBURG — Picking up options worth $10.25 million on James Shields and $2.5 million on Fernando Rodney really weren't much of a decision for the Rays.

Declining a $6 million option on DH Luke Scott and picking up a $1.8 million option on catcher Jose Molina were a bit more involved.

In cutting loose Scott (and paying a $1 million buyout), the Rays weren't prepared yet to commit to him as a DH/corner outfielder in filling out a lineup that potentially has four open spots.

"We have enough decisions to make on the position-player side that each decision we make has a domino effect, so we just didn't want to make any decision right now that would push us in any one certain direction," executive vice president Andrew Friedman said. "We have a lot of guys to potentially add, so we felt like that gave us the most flexibility."

Scott, 34, hit .229 with 14 homers and 55 RBIs in 96 games but missed 45 with two stints on the disabled list while making $5 million in 2012. Friedman said both sides agreed to "keep the door open" on a possible return.

In retaining Molina, the Rays assured they would have at least a backup they were comfortable with at one of their thinnest positions, while keeping open the possibility of acquiring a true frontline catcher.

"We felt like he added a lot to our pitching staff with his knowledge of the game and the pitch-calling and the controlling of the running game; we were extremely successful on the run-prevention side, and we felt Jose Molina was a big part of that success," Friedman said. "We feel confident he's going to be one of two that helps us win games. Who the other one is, I don't know yet."

Molina, 37, hit .223 with eight home runs and 32 RBIs over 102 games, throwing out 27.8 percent of attempted base stealers.

Shields will be the subject of trade speculation throughout the winter, but Friedman reiterated that the Rays don't feel they "have" to trade a starter and said they could afford both Shields and David Price, who is expected to get $7.5 million to $10 million via arbitration. "Anytime you get your option picked up, it's a good day," Shields said. "Obviously I want to be a Ray."

The Rays aren't expected to re-sign any of their own free agents before the market opens at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. They also have until then to decide on making a one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offer to centerfielder B.J. Upton, entitling them to draft-pick compensation if he leaves, as expected.

ANGELS-ROYALS TRADE: Los Angeles traded right-hander Ervin Santana to Kansas City for minor-league left-hander Brandon Sisk. The Angels exercised Santana's $13 million option for next season before trading him and cash to the Royals. Santana, 29, is 96-80 with a 4.33 ERA over eight seasons, all with the Angels, but struggled this past season. Also, the Royals declined their option on Joakim Soria, a former All-Star closer who missed 2012 due to reconstructive elbow surgery.

Yankees' Soriano opts out: Former Rays reliever Rafael Soriano opted out of the final year of his contract with the Yankees and likely will seek a long-term deal in free agency. The move by Soriano, 32, was expected, but there was a difference of opinion over what was said. Club president Randy Levine said agent Scott Boras told him "he was confident (Soriano) could get $15 (million) for four years." Boras denied he had given a figure. "I never make promises as to what the free agent market might bear," the agent said.

Party Time: Orange-and-black clad hordes flooded the streets of San Francisco for a parade celebrating the World Series champion Giants. Tens of thousands decked out in the team's colors stood 30 deep behind barriers, climbed trees and mounted rooftops along San Francisco's main commercial street to celebrate. The unifying energy of the Giants' victory was evident as 49ers QB Alex Smith drove the car carrying Giants pitcher Matt Cain, while 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh did the honors for first baseman Brandon Belt.

BLUE JAYS: The team exercised its $3 million option on left-hander Darren Oliver and signed outfielder Rajai Davis to a one-year, $2.5 million contract.

INDIANS: New manager Terry Francona kept Sandy Alomar as his bench coach and hired former Astros manager Brad Mills as his third-base coach. Also, the team picked up right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez's $5.75 million option and declined options on DH Travis Hafner and right-hander Roberto Hernandez.

MARLINS: Former Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon became at least the fourth candidate to interview for Miami's job.

ORIOLES: The club exercised its option on reliever Luis Ayala and declined its option on infielder Mark Reynolds.

PIRATES: Former infielder Jay Bell was named hitting coach. The team picked up its option on third baseman Pedro Alvarez and parted with catcher Rod Barajas.

REDS: Outfielder Ryan Ludwick declined a mutual option, making him a free agent.

ROCKIES: Left-hander Jorge De La Rosa exercised a player option that will pay him $11 million in 2013.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Rays pick up option on Jose Molina, decline option on Luke Scott 10/31/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 9:53pm]
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