It’s been rumoured for just over a week now, but the Tampa Bay Rays have finally announced their acquisition of free agent Jose Molina on a one year deal worth $1.5 million with a club option for 2013 set at $1.5 million as well. A $300,000 buyout guarantees the former Toronto Blue Jays catcher $1.8 million.

The 36 year old Molina is coming off his best offensive season to go along with this year’s long overdue recognition for one of the lesser measured abilities behind the plate. With the Rays’ recently moving John Jaso to the Seattle Mariners, while declining to pick up Kelly Shoppach’s option, Molina could potentially be called upon to catch more innings than at any other point of his career.

Steve Slowinski of DRays Bay finds that from a defensive perspective, Molina is a vastly superior option to Jaso.

Even if you are generous and give Jaso the benefit of the doubt, it still looks like Molina’s defense is around a four win improvement over Jaso’s. That’s a massive difference.

Of course, despite last year’s outlier, Molina isn’t likely to put up the same offensive numbers as the Rays former catchers or make up for the loss of Shoppach’s ability against left handed pitching. However, the Molina signing represents yet another front office decision from the Rays that appears to appreciate something that other teams might be overlooking.

His exceptional skills at framing the strike zone set him above the average receiver.

Molina’s Type B free agent status means that his signing with the Rays ensures an extra supplemental round draft pick for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Comments (17)

  1. I’ll miss Jose. I really enjoyed watching him behind the plate.

  2. I’ll miss watching his offense; that wide open batting stance and incredibly violent swing. Farewell, Jose.

  3. Anybody know how the draft order for the supplemental first round picks are determined?

  4. So who’s backing up JP next year? Here are the remaining FAs.

    Josh Bard
    Ramon Castro
    Ramon Hernandez
    Jason Kendall
    Dioner Navarro
    Ivan Rodriguez
    Kelly Shoppach
    Chris Snyder
    J.R. Towles
    Jason Varitek

    • I think Shoppach is rather underrated especially if you use him primarily against LHP. I wouldn’t mind bringing him in to backup Arencibia. I wonder if the Rays would consider trying to bring him back at a price less than his option was worth.

    • jays have been linked to snyder before i believe. good plate discipline and pretty much average defence (if you believe UZR for catchers)

  5. Good news for Molina, who gets a nice contract at a raise, with potentially more playing time.

    Good news for the Rays, who get a decent catcher at a decent price.

    Good news for the Jays who get a supplemental draft pick in a year when supplemental draft picks are being phased out.

  6. A top 60 pick for Jose Molina? Yes please. Gonna miss the Elias Sports Bureau next offseason…

  7. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the Jays resigned Molina if he had failed to make Type B. Great move by the Rays.

  8. pudge could definitely help arencibia on both ends of the plate.

    although, his physical skills have all but completely deteriorated. he’d still be an excellent mentor with the ocassional good game.

  9. I say sign whoever’s cheapest and stick em in AAA (Ramon Castro stylez) and give Jeroloman a shot to build some value. If he plays well he’s mid season trade bait and you get something for him. If he doesn’t paay well enough, then he’s your 3rd string, AAA depth catch for next year (which is what he’d be anyway if you didn’t give him a shot this coming year).

    But I have trouble really caring about backup C before figure out who the bloody hell is going to play second base next year!

  10. Wait, how on earth is anyone worth four more wins than someone else on defence alone? That’s a 40 run swing, which is like going from Yuniesky Betancourt to Ozzie Smith. Yikes.

    • He’s measuring pitch framing value, Molina is the best in baseball at that skill.

      Very good signing by the Rays.

  11. that suck toronto you guys suck

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