Suicide bombers hit three hotels frequented by westerners in Baghdad yesterday. When I read about it, I’ll admit, my first thought wasn’t “Oh God, I hope Chris Coghlan is safe!” Indeed, I had actually forgot all about the Marlins’ Iraq trip. Still, it’s good to hear this from Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald:
Just got off the phone with Marlins communications vice president
P.J. Loyello, who said a contingent of Marlins bound for
Iraq landed in Kuwait this morning, not long after suicide bombers
blasted three Baghdad hotels in neighboring Iraq.
“They’re safe,” said Loyello, who has been in contact with the
traveling party. “They’re not in Iraq at the moment. They have
landed (in Kuwait) and they’re in good hands.”
The trip includes manager Fredi Gonzalez, team president Larry
Beinfest, Coghlan, catcher
John Baker, and four Mermaids cheerleaders.
No worries, Mrs. Beinfest: I’m sure the gender balance of the delegation is a purely political consideration.
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.