After dealing John Jaso and declining an option to bring back Kelly Shoppach, the Rays had a void to fill behind the plate going into next year. Tuesday they took a step to fill that void, signing veteran catcher Jose Molina. Molina, 37, most recently had been catching for the Toronto Blue Jays the last two seasons and before that spent over two seasons with the New York Yankees.
Molina will serve two roles for the Rays. He will step in and lend a veteran presence to a young group of catchers, namely Jose Lobaton and Robinson Chirinos that may not quite be ready for everyday duty in the majors. He will also be an excellent addition to aid the up and coming, as well as the established, Rays pitchers. He is known around the league as a great framer of pitches and can call a good game as well. It can’t hurt to have a Molina on the roster, right? Between Jose and his two brothers, they have six World Series rings.
Molina is just the kind of addition you would expect the Rays to make in the offseason. He is a good character guy, that’s a hard worker and a leader at his position. He gives them an upgrade defensively from what they had in 2011 both in catching and in throwing out base runners. Over the last four years, Molina has thrown out just over 36% attempted base stealers. And in 2008 and 2010 he led the league, throwing out runners 44% of the time.
Is it a signing like Pujols or Reyes? No, but it is a big deal for the Rays to go out and get a veteran catcher like Jose Molina. While nothing is a sure thing in baseball, you can bet that Molina will be ready to do whatever the Rays ask him to and he will make them a better team when he suits up.