JR Richard

The Best and Worst Uniforms of All Time: The Houston Astros

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The Best: I angered fellow HBTer Drew Silva with my dissing of the Cardinals’ powder blues earlier today.  I have this feeling I’m going to step in it with some Astros fans now too. But here goes:

I know I’m supposed to be all hip and say I liked the crazy 70s-80s getup the best, but despite the fact that I am steeped in irony appreciation, they’re not my favorites. I hate white shoes on baseball players. I don’t like the numbers on the pants. There are all kinds of things wrong with that ensemble separate and apart from the rainbow design. My favorties: the late 60s-early 70s shooting star unis. Those things are just as pleasing as can be. Honorable mention: the Colt .45s gun uniforms. Which, if introduced today, would create a political crisis which would no doubt carry over into presidential campaigns and Supreme Court confirmation hearings. What a drag the modern era is, no?

Worst: Even if the day-glos weren’t as great as everyone now ironically says they were, the 1994-99 overreactions were far worse. Like the Brewers, they looked like a committee put them together. The current ones are better, but not that much better, especially when they wear the brick red batting practice jerseys. Just uninspired and blah. And a Texas team should not wear pinstripes any more than a city slicker should wear a Stetson.

Assessment: Isn’t there a middle ground between gonzo rainbows and corporate calculation?  I’d like to think Houston could find it.  Oh, and one other thing: the best thing ever about those day-glos was the cap with the block H over the star.  That has to return, even in a more muted color scheme.

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.