Bill DeWitt Jr., John Mozeliak, Yadier Molina, Mike Matheny (Scott Rovak / USA TODAY Sports Images)

Storylines: Cardinals and Yadier Molina making significant progress in extension talks

The Cardinals and Yadier Molina appear to be inching closer to a contract extension. That along with all the other news and notes from around baseball on Monday...

Top Storyline:

- The St. Louis Cardinals appear to be inching closer to extending one of their key veteran players.  The team has reportedly made “major progress” in extension talks with veteran Yadier Molina per Jon Heyman of FanRag.  Molina had reportedly set a deadline at Opening Day for talks to continue and if no deal was reached then those talks would be put on hold.  The Cardinals appear to have ramped up their efforts to get a deal done.  Molina has worn the red and white his entire career with the red birds and clearly wants to stay in St. Louis his entire career.  He owns a career .285/.338/.400 slash line with 108 home runs and 703 RBIs over the course of his 13 years with the Cardinals.  He still continues to rake at the plate as just last season he hit .307/.360/.427 and racked up 58 RBIs.  He’s never been a prolific power hitter but has always had a consistent bat and is a key leader inside that clubhouse as well as being a very durable player as he has played over 110 games a season in the past 12 years.  Both sides clearly want to get a deal done, so it will be interesting to see how long the new deal will last and if it will indeed keep him in St. Louis for the remainder of his career.

Indians News:

- Right-hander Carlos Carrasco has been named the game 2 starter of the first series of the year in Texas next week per the IBI’s John Alfes.  There had been some speculation that Carrasco would begin the season on the shelf or in extended spring training due to some elbow problems but it appears he has made a full recovery and will be ready to go when the season starts.

Other Storylines:

- Los Angeles Dodger southpaw Scott Kazmir will begin the season on the 10-day D.L. due to a hip issue per Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times.  Kazmir has been battling injuries all spring long and his latest outing saw his fastball only average up to 84 MPH.  Such low velocity indicates he is dealing with something significant and needs more time to rest.

- The Arizona Diamondbacks are not reportedly shopping shortstop Nick Ahmed contrary to other reports per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  The infielder has two options left and provides valuable depth for a team that has unproven options at short such as Ketel Marte and Chris Owings.

- The Toronto Blue Jays are optimistic that second baseman Devon Travis will be ready to play full time when the season starts per John Lott of The Athletic TO.  Travis had been recovering from knee surgery he had after injuring his left knee during the playoffs and was forced to hit the shelf during the 2016 ALCS against the Indians.  There had been a ton of skepticism that he’d be ready for Opening Day given he didn’t play in a cactus league game until last week but all signs point towards go.

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