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Report: Twins offer Tsuyoshi Nishioka a multi-year contract

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According to Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse, the Twins have offered Tsuyoshi Nishioka a multi-year contract.

One source tells Price that the Twins are trying to sign the switch-hitting infielder to a two or three-year contract worth between $3-4 million per season while another says the team is offering a three-year deal worth $9-10 million in full.

The Twins secured exclusive negotiating rights with Nishioka after submitting a bid of $5 million, so it’s possible that they could secure him for multiple seasons without spending more than $15 million total. The Japanese infielder is a bit of an unknown quantity, but that’s not bad considering the money that is flying around so far this winter. The club has until December 26 to sign him.

Nishioka, 26, has a .293 batting average over parts of eight seasons with the Chiba Lotte Marines and led Japan’s Pacific League with a .346 batting average this past season. The club tendered a contract to J.J. Hardy last week, so Nishioka would likely play second base if the two sides come to an agreement.

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.