General manager John Mozeliak has repeatedly said that the Cardinals are comfortable going with 26-year-old prospect David Freese as their Opening Day third baseman, so he can’t be too happy with this news from the weekend:
David Freese was arrested in St. Louis County early Saturday morning on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, Maryland Heights police confirmed Sunday. … Freese’s arrest represents the fourth known alcohol-related incident involving the franchise since March 2007. It is also the second vehicle-related incident involving Freese this year.
The Lafayette High alum suffered serious injuries to both feet last January when his car skidded off an ice-slicked road as he was en route to a charity bowling event. The incident cost Freese a chance to make the major-league club in spring training and eventually required surgery on his left foot.
Mozeliak commented that the Cardinals “are extremely disappointed upon hearing this,” but it’s tough to imagine the arrest really hurting Freese’s chance of claiming a starting job given that manager Tony La Russa was arrested for driving under the influence a couple years ago. Of course, La Russa is a Hall of Fame manager and Freese will be 27 years old in April despite not yet even establishing himself as a big leaguer. In other words Freese may want to stay off the road for a while.
The Phillies have signed free agent outfielder Michael Saunders.
Saunders was an All-Star in 2016 due to his wonderful start, but he cratered in the second half of the season. Overall is numbers looked good — he hit 24 homers and posted a line of .253/.338/.478, but his second half line was .178/.282/.357 in 58 games. He’s not the best defender around either.
The Phillies could use him, however, and if he has another red hot first half, there’s a decent chance they could flip him if they wanted to.
It was first reported that the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista were close to a deal last night. Now Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is near completion. It will likely a two-year contract in the $35-40 million range.
Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.
The Jays, who already lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency, get their slugger back on a short term deal. Unlike anyone else, they don’t have to give up the draft pick attached to him via the qualifying offer. Bautista, in turn, will make, on average, more than he would’ve made on the qualifying offer if he would’ve accepted it and a raise over the $14 million he made in 2016.