REPORT: Yankees acquire Lance Berkman from Astros

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UPDATE: Oh boy. Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears that the Astros are covering $4 million the $7.5 million remaining on Berkman’s contract. Buster Olney of ESPN.com hears that the Astros are covering $3 million.

Doesn’t matter. I hear Ed Wade is also giving Berkman a complimentary piggyback ride to meet up with his new team at Tropicana Field.

7:08 PM: So much for reloading. According to Buster Olney of ESPN.com, not only are the Yankees not giving up any major prospects for Berkman, but the Astros are picking up “a lot” of his remaining contract.

6:21 PM: It’s official. According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Lance Berkman has consented to waive his no-trade rights and will head to the Yankees. We’ll still have to wait 24 hours due to his 10-5 rights, but this thing is done. It’s not yet known who the Astros will receive in return or if they were willing to eat any of his contract.

Berkman, 34, is owed roughly $5 million for the rest of this season and his contract includes a $15 million team option for 2011 or a $2 million buyout. He requested that his option not be picked up in a trade (and don’t worry, it won’t be), so Berkman will make about $7 million guaranteed.

On paper, Berkman will be the everyday designated hitter for the Yankees moving forward, but perhaps the most interesting angle of this thing is how Joe Girardi will split up the playing time  if Jorge Posada is only available to play behind the plate a few times a week. Ah, what am I saying? It must be tough to be a Yankees fan.

Phillies sign outfielder Michael Saunders

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 3: Michael Saunders #21 of the Toronto Blue Jays runs to first after being walked during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 3, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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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.

Jose Bautista and the Blue Jays nearing a two-year, $35-40 million deal

Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista flips his bat after hitting a three-run homer during seventh inning game 5 American League Division Series baseball action in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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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.