Molina Signing a Good Thing

Multiple media outlets are reporting that the Rays have signed free agent catcher Jose Molina to a 1.8 million dollar deal. The team is expected to make the official announcement on Monday afternoon. The deal is reportedly for 1.5 million in 2012 with a 2013 team option for the same amount that includes a team buyout of $300,000. What does Molina bring to the table? I examine inside.

Jose Molina may not bring as much offensive punch (for his career he's hit .241 with 29 home runs and 163 RBIs) as his brother, Yadier (Cardinals), or the Rangers' Mike Napoli, but Molina is an excellent defensive catcher. Over the course of his 12 Major League seasons, he's thrown out 40% of potential base stealers which ranks fourth among active catchers.

Molina's defensive presence will be an upgrade over the catchers he will replace. Over 12 seasons, Molina has thrown out 40 percent of players attempting to steal and has just 29 errors in 4,408 chances.

Even though Kelly Shoppach caught 18 of 44 runners attempting to steal (41 percent), his career percentage in the area still ranks far below Molina. In addition, Shoppach has committed 22 errors in 2,507 chances over just seven seasons.

John Jaso managed to throw out just 10 of 60 runners last season (19 percent) and has a career 19 percent in the caught stealing category. Over three seasons, he has nine errors in 1,167 chances.

Molina has also been an integral part in the success of the pitchers he catches for. The career ERA for the pitchers he has caught for while with the Cubs (one season), the Angels (seven seasons), the Yankees (three seasons), and the Blue Jays (two seasons) is 3.94. Molina has actually improved over the past four seasons, though, helping his pitchers compile a 3.77 ERA.

Based in St. Petersburg, Fla., Chris Girandola has been a sports journalist for over eight years. After receiving his Master of Arts in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, Girandola took his talents to New York, where he worked as an associate reporter for covering the New York Mets. Following this stint, Girandola was hired as a regular contributor for Major League Baseball Advanced Media. His credits also include the Associated Press, St. Petersburg Times, Naples News, Florida Football Magazine, Kentucky Basketball Magazine, and Tampa Bay Business Journal. Girandola has also dabbled in collegiate athletics as a member of the St. Mary's College basketball team and is a coach for high school hoops.

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