News broke on Thursday afternoon that the Tampa Bay Rays have made their first big free agent acquisition of the winter by signing Jose Molina. Though not yet officially confirmed, Justin Pawlowski tweeted not long ago that the Rays were in fact in negotiations to bring one of the brothers Molina to Tampa.
DRaysBay, SB Nation's site devoted to all things Devil Rays, broke the story and had this to say about Molina:
A career backup, Molina was dead weight with the bat until 2011. Buoyed by a .363 batting average on balls in play he hit .281/.342/.415 in 55 games for Toronto. However, before last season he had only posted an on base percentage of +.300 one time in the past eight years. On a more positive note, Molina was the best at framing pitches per Mike Fast's excellent research at Baseball Prospectus
Even if Molina's bat does not excite you, he'll undeniably be an upgrade defensively over the two catches currently on Tampa Bay's roster -- John Jaso and Robinson Chirinos. Kelly Shoppach, the team's catches in 2010, did not have his option picked up at season's end.
Stay tuned here and at DRaysBay for confirmation of the signing, and other MLB Free Agency news as more information becomes available.