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Bob Howry retires after 13 seasons in the majors

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Bob Howry has announced his retirement at age 37 after spending 13 seasons as a reliever for the White Sox, Cubs, Red Sox, Indians, Diamondbacks, and Giants.

Howry was drafted by the Giants in 1994 and came to the White Sox in the infamous “white flag” trade in mid-1997. He finally wound up in San Francisco a dozen years later, signing with the Giants as a free agent. That proved to be Howry’s second-to-last season, as he struggled with the Diamondbacks and Cubs last year and has now called it quits.

Among active pitchers (or at least pitchers who were active in 2010), only Trevor Hoffman (1,035) and Billy Wagner (853) have appeared in more career games than Howry (769) without ever making a start. He also ranks fifth among all active relievers in seasons with 50 or more innings and a sub-3.50 ERA with six.

Howry never really got an extended opportunity to close after saving 28 games for the White Sox as a 25-year-old in 1999, but he was one of the best setup men in baseball for a decade and finishes with a 3.84 ERA in 788 career innings.

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.