As we’ve mentioned before, Shin-Soo Choo is up against South Korea’s mandate that all able-bodied men must serve in the armed forces for two-years prior to turning 30. Choo is 28, and his military obligation is falling concurrently with his arbitration and free agency years. The straight-from-Hollywood-twist: if he can lead the Korean national baseball team to a gold medal in the Asian Games, he’ll likely get out of his commitment. Really, all this is missing is an angle in which he’s teamed with prisoners or something.
Well, the Asian games have gotten underway, and Choo is off to a good start: he hit two two-run homers Saturday as South Korea beat Taiwan, 6-1. Taiwan was the gold medal winner the last time around, so this is probably a good sign for Choo.
And if he fails: he, Richard Pryor, Gene Wilder and Grossberger can all escape while the rodeo is ending. Or something.
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.