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.