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Rays to pick up options on Jose Molina, James Shields and Fernando Rodney

The veteran trio will return to St. Pete for at least one more season.

Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

The Tampa Bay Rays will exercise their 2013 club options on catcher Jose Molina, right-hander James Shields, and closer Fernando Rodney, reports Marc Tompkin of the Tampa Bay Times:

The Rays are expected to pick up the $1.8-million option on C Jose Molina. By doing so, the Rays at the least will have a capable backup for 2013…

The Times reported earlier today the Rays have already told James Shields they are picking up his $10.25-millioin option, and the $2.5-million option on RHP Fernando Rodney is a no-brainer.

Molina, 37, had a poor season at the plate – hitting just .223/.286/.355 in two hundred seventy-four plate appearances, but still offers great value behind the dish. The middle Molina brother is considered one of the game’s best at framing pitches and has always been above average at catching would-be base-stealers.

Shields, 30, came back to earth a bit this season after his stellar 2011, posting a 3.52 ERA and 8.8 K/9 in thirty-three starts. While the right-hander didn’t come close to his eleven complete games from the season prior, he did manage to throw over two hundred innings for the sixth consecutive season, making him a valuable commodity.

The 35-year-old Rodney came back from the brink of obscurity to put together an historic season as the Rays closer. The right-hander saved forty-eight games this season by amassing a minuscule 0.60 ERA in nearly seventy-five innings, breaking Dennis Eckersley’s record for lowest ERA in MLB history with at least fifty innings pitched.

The Rays have one $6 million contract option still on the table: that of designated hitter Luke Scott. The club has until Friday night to decide if it will pick up the $6 million or buy out the option for $1 million instead.