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Molina, Rays near new deal

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Published:   |   Updated: November 24, 2013 at 10:53 PM

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays are close to solidifying their plans behind the plate, having reportedly agreed to terms with catcher Jose Molina for two more seasons.

CBS Sports reported the sides agreed on a two-year contract that will pay Molina $4.5 million over the length of the deal. The Rays did not confirm the report, though it is expected to be finalized this week once Molina completes a physical.

Executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman indicated after the Rays were eliminated from the playoffs that he was interested in re-signing Molina, who made $3.3 million during his first two seasons in Tampa Bay.

Molina, 38, will again join Jose Lobaton in a platoon.

Molina, whose career-high in starts during the first 12 years of his career before joining the Rays was 81 in 2008 for the Yankees, started 80 games in 2012 and 87 last season.

Though Molina only has a .228 batting average during his first two seasons with the Rays, Friedman values his work behind the plate, where he is considered one of the better catchers at framing the strike zone and getting borderline pitches called strikes. Molina also works well with the pitching staff.

Lobaton credited Molina for his breakout season in 2013 both behind the plate and at the plate.

rmooney@tampatrib.com

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Twitter: @RMooneyTBO

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