Blue Jays lock up Ricky Romero through at least 2015

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UPDATE: According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, the contract includes a club option for 2016.

3:08 PM: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Blue Jays have signed Ricky Romero to a five-year, $30.1 million extension.

According to Rosenthal, it is the largest guarantee for any pitcher with less than two years of service time. The contract will cover the 2011-2015 seasons and if my calculations are correct, this would buy out his first year of free agency. It equals the deal given to Yovani Gallardo this April.

Romero, 25, is 22-16 over his first 52 major league starts, including a 3.53 ERA through 23 starts this season. 

An interesting contrast is Brett Anderson’s recent extension with the Athletics. He was signed to a four-year, $12.5 million contract with an $8 million club option for 2014 and a $12 million club option for 2015 (his first year of free agency). If he plays out the entire length of the contract, Anderson would have the chance to make $31 million, nearly equaling the Romero deal.

Not saying that the Romero deal is bad, necessarily, but Anderson’s deal comes with considerably less risk.

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.