I linked the Stan Hochman column in which he solicited ideas for nicknames for the Phillies’ rotation the other day (recall that he wanted it to be “Un-Four-gettables”). Well, the mob has spoken and Stan delivers the news:
The winner, by a squeaky margin, was R2C2, a spinoff of the smart-aleck “Star Wars” robot. Good luck trying to get copyright clearance on that one. Finishing second was Four Aces, with the voters equally divided between poker references and a tribute to the Philadelphia music group starring Al Alberts. (Biggest hit: “Love is a Many-Splendored Thing.”)
Anyway, most people were saying “R2C2” anyway, so I suppose we’re stuck with that one, for better or worse. And it’s not bad as far as these things go. Not nearly as awesome as “Fat Joe and the Terror Squad
,” which many had suggested. But I suppose it’s better to have something that will still work if Joe Blanton gets traded. Alas.
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.
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.