This is less the Sporting News’ mistake as it is their panel of “125 experts, including 18 Hall of Famers” who pick the Top 50 current ballplayers in the game this time each year. They get number 1 OK: Pujols. Not many would argue with that.
But how about Chase Utley at number 9 behind Ichiro and Derek Jeter of all people? How about Jayson Werth at 49, only 16 slots behind Derrick Lee and five behind Bobby Abreu! I love to make fun of defensive Phillies fans more than life itself, but they have my total permission to go apes— over this one. Not that they are the only ones with beefs here. Go down the list and you’ll find all manner or weirdness.
As Adam Morris at Lone Star Ball notes, the panel of experts includes guys like convicted multiple felon and all-around dummy Denny McClain, Peter Ueberroth, the architect of 1980s-collusion, and Darren Daulton, a fine former catcher but a man who currently believes that the universe is created and sustained by numerical synchronicities, and that all matter is charged with vibrational energy, which has escaped human perception because it is extradimensional in origin. Really.
So obviously good judgment and sober reasoning is not a qualification for the Sporting News’ expert panel. As such, I think we should take this poll’s results about as seriously as McClain and Ueberroth take the law and Daulten takes the scientific method.
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.
The Padres have signed Trevor Cahill to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.
As recently as the middle of the 2015 season it looked like Cahill’s career would meet a premature end, but after being released by the Braves and signing with the Cubs in August of that season he has been a remarkably effective reliever. He has posted a 2.61 ERA in 61 games in Chicago and has posted a strikeout rate far above his career norms.
He’s not someone you necessarily want taking the hill when the leverage is high, but in San Diego the leverage won’t be all that high all that often.