Giants announce deal with Molina

Giants announce deal with Molina

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants have scheduled a 2 p.m. PT conference call Friday to talk about their one-year, $4.5 million deal with catcher Bengie Molina.

In a startling turn of events, Molina, a free agent who was expected to sign with the New York Mets, reached agreement with the Giants on Tuesday. Molina had stuck to his demand for a multiyear contract, which the Mets were reluctant to grant.

Molina's contract was finalized on Friday.

So Molina opted to remain with the team for which he amassed 55 home runs and 256 RBIs from 2007-09. Besides being a major offensive contributor for the Giants, Molina solidified the pitching staff with his guidance and provided leadership, as reflected by the "Willie Mac" awards he won in 2007-08 as San Francisco's most inspirational player.

Molina batted mostly fourth in each of the previous two seasons, including last year, when he hit a career-high 20 homers and drove in 80 runs. Miscast for the cleanup spot even by his own admission, he's more likely to bat fifth or sixth this year, with San Francisco having obtained free agents Aubrey Huff and Mark DeRosa who will likely hit fourth and fifth, respectively.

Molina's return means that Buster Posey, universally regarded as San Francisco's top position-player prospect, probably will begin the season with Triple-A Fresno to continue his development. Posey, 22, has hit .327 with 19 homers and 86 RBIs in 125 Minor League games.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.