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MLB Free Agency Rumors: Tampa Bay Rays Reportedly Sign Jose Molina

The Tampa Bay Rays have reportedly signed catcher Jose Molina to a free agent contract according to unconfirmed reports.

TORONTO, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 16: Jose Molina #8 of the Toronto Blue Jays hits the winning RBI against the New York Yankees during MLB action at the Rogers Centre September 16, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 16: Jose Molina #8 of the Toronto Blue Jays hits the winning RBI against the New York Yankees during MLB action at the Rogers Centre September 16, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
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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.

Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.