The Blue Jays may have added the capstone to an interesting offseason on Monday, when FOXsports.com
reported that Toronto and Bengie Molina were close to signing off on a one-year contract.
The deal is reportedly worth $5 million with a $7.5 million option for 2007, but club officials stressed that nothing is completed yet.
Molina, a two-time Gold Glover, had the best offensive season of his career in 2005. The catcher posted personal bests in home runs (15), batting average (.295), on-base percentage (.336) and slugging percentage (.446). Despite those numbers, the 31-year-old found himself pushed out of a job in Los Angeles and left out on the open market longer than expected.
Molina had previously hoped to land with Baltimore or New York, but the Orioles signed Ramon Hernandez and the Mets traded for Paul Lo Duca. Reports indicate that the Dodgers were the other finalist for his services.
While not official as of yet, the deal would have clear implications. For one, it would push incumbent Gregg Zaun into a backup role. Zaun spent most of his career as a reserve before establishing himself as a starter with two strong seasons for Toronto. Also, Molina's addition would set the team's lineup, which includes fellow newcomers Troy Glaus and Lyle Overbay.
The Blue Jays also added A.J. Burnett and B.J. Ryan to the mix this winter, rounding out their staff with two expensive high-caliber arms. The Jays haven't been to the playoffs since last winning the World Series in 1993, but the potential Molina signing would add more weight to a critically acclaimed offseason.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.