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MLB roundup: Rays close to Jose Molina deal, Phillies hire Bob McClure as pitching coach

The Rays are approaching a deal to lock up Jose Molina. The Phillies have found a new pitching coach. The Cubs can have their new sign and the Pirates are trying to woo Lance Berkman up from his rocking chair, but most importantly, you can now buy game-worn beards!


The Rays are close to re-signing catcher Jose Molina to a two-year deal, according to Buster Olney of ESPN. Molina hit .233/.290/.304 in 2013, but the Rays are more focused on his nearly legendary ability to frame pitches, which saves them around 35 runs per year, according to a prominent study by Mike Fast of Baseball Prospectus, who now works for the Astros. Molina earned $1.5 million in 2013. There is no word yet on how much this deal will be for.

Phillies hire McClure

The Phillies have hired  pitching coach Bob McClure to watch over their staff, reports Jim Salisbury of the The former big league reliever has served as the pitching coach for the Rockies and Royals, and he was most recently employed in that capacity by the Red Sox in 2012, working in the tumultuous Bobby Valentine-lead clubhouse, until he was dismissed in mid-August.

Puma Market

The Pirates have put calls in to veteran first baseman Lance Berkman but the 37-year-old is leaning toward retirement, according to Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Berkman struggled with injuries for the Texas Rangers in 2013, posting a .242/.340/.359 batting line in 294 plate appearances. The Pirates, who could use help at first base for 2014 and could be willing to take a chance on him if he will come back for one more try.

Wrigley makeover

The city of Chicago has approved the proposed changes to Wrigley Field, which primarily consist of a "welcoming arch" which will welcome fans to the ballpark with advertisements.

Astros owners past and present quarreling

Astros owner Jim Crane is suing former-owner Drayton McLane over the television station CSN Houston. Crane received shares in the network in his purchase of the Astros and now it is in involuntary bankruptcy proceedings. The new Astros owner claims that McLane perpetrated fraud, selling him "an asset they knew at the time to be overpriced and broken," according to David Barron of the Houston Chronicles report on the court case. Maybe the Crane had no idea the channel regularly broadcasted Astros games.

Beards for sale

If you can't get enough of the World Champion Red Sox and their iconic facial hair, grab your wallet! DH David Ortiz and right fielder Shane Victorino are auctioning off their beards for charity and you can proudly display this gnarly part of baseball history in your own home for just a few hundred dollars.

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