Gordon Edes at ESPN Boston has looked at a draft of the 2011 schedule that is floating around and notices something different:
One significant departure in the MLB schedule is that the season will
begin at the end of the week (most teams will play on Friday, with
presumably one game being played on Thursday night). MLB has
traditionally opened its season on a Monday, with ESPN televising one
game the Sunday night before.
Right-thinking people rarely consider that first Sunday night game as true “Opening Day” because there aren’t a dozen or more baseball games going on in the brilliant Spring sunlight while they drink beers and laugh at all the suckers who weren’t smart enough to skip work for the day.* Monday has always felt like the real Opening Day.
If the real Opening Day is now Friday, it’s actually an improvement, because people can do the same thing they used to do — blow off work and drink beers — but won’t have to wake up early the next day. Win-win.
*Ironically, becoming a Professional Baseball Writer made this past Opening Day the least enjoyable in living memory because I didn’t cut work in the name of baseball and I didn’t drink those beers. As far as NBC knows, anyway.
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.