11/22/2013 2:50 P.M. ET
Molina likely to return for third season with Rays
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG -- It looks like the Rays will stand pat with the catching tandem of Jose Molina and Jose Lobaton in 2014.
Molina, 38, was a free agent, but according to multiple news reports, Tampa Bay is close to completing a deal that will bring back the veteran receiver for a third season.
The Rays have long touted Molina's strengths in helping run prevention, particularly in how he handles pitchers and how he controls the running game.
Molina set a career high by starting 87 games in 2013, breaking his previous high of 81 in 2008. He hit .233 with two home runs and 18 RBIs.
In addition, Molina threw out 17 of 73 (23.3 percent) attempted basestealers, which was slightly above the Major League average of 23.1. He has a career caught-stealing percentage of 37.7, which ranks fourth among active catchers.
There have been rumors about Tampa Bay being interested in free-agent catchers Brian McCann, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and A.J. Pierzynski, as well as possibly being interested in trading for Reds backstop Ryan Hanigan. Those possibilities now would seem less plausible.
With Molina in the fold, the Rays would likely head to camp with Lobaton as the starter, Molina as the backup and Chris Gimenez as the third catcher.
Martinez, rest of coaching staff expected to return
ST. PETERSBURG -- After bench coach Dave Martinez did not get the Cubs' managing job despite what was said to be a strong showing, the Rays are expected to bring back all of their coaches for the 2014 season.
Thus, Martinez will return for his seventh season as the team's bench coach. Also back will be bullpen coach Stan Boroski (fifth season), third-base coach Tom Foley (13th season and 19th in the Rays' organization), first-base coach George Hendrick (ninth), pitching coach Jim Hickey (eighth), Major League coach Jaime Nelson (second, 15th season in Tampa Bay's organization), hitting coach Derek Shelton (fifth) and senior baseball advisor Don Zimmer (11th).
Non-tender date looming
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays, like other Major League teams, will need to decide by Dec. 2 whether to tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players.
Non-tendering a player makes him a free agent. By tendering a contract offer to a player, Tampa Bay is agreeing to work out a deal, even if it requires going to arbitration, which insures the player will remain with the team. Here are the Rays' arbitration-eligible players: David Price, Matt Joyce, Jeremy Hellickson, Wesley Wright, Sean Rodriguez, Jake McGee, Jose Lobaton, Sam Fuld and Cesar Ramos.
• Full postseason shares for the World Series champion Red Sox were worth $307,322.68. Meanwhile, shares for the Rays, who bowed out against the Red Sox during the American League Division Series, were worth $35,280.10.
• Leave it to Tampa Bay's public relations staff to come up with a "Joecabulary" to define some of the words used by manager Joe Maddon. The definitions look something like this: "Poisontry [n]-A state of negativity. [Following the much-publicized missed third-strike call on Ben Zobrist in the ninth inning April 8 at Texas: "It's up to us whether we want to nurture that poisontry."].
• Executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman offered high praise about outfield prospect Kevin Kiermaier.
"In our opinion, Kevin Kiermaier might be the best defensive outfielder in our organization, at any level," said Friedman. "He is fearless, gets tremendous jumps, runs well and has a great arm."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.