Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated reported earlier this month that the Padres were looking into signing catcher Bengie Molina to serve as a backup to Nick Hundley but found the veteran free agent to be in “retirement mode.”
He remains in that “mode.”
Molina told Kevin Davidoff of Newsday this weekend that he has not yet filed retirement papers and is open to returning if the right situation were to present itself, but also that playing baseball is not something he is thinking about right now.
Molina has a wife and three daughters who have seen him only sparingly over the past 13-plus years.
“A lot of my teammates and friends want me to come back,” Molina said. “I love the game. It gave me life … I wish I could be playing right now. But I’ve got other priorities right now. It could be how Pedro [Martinez] did it halfway through (2009), something like that. It’s not like I’m planning on doing that. If it comes up, and I’m ready to go, I’ll do it.”
Molina, 37 in July, batted just .249 with a .297 on-base percentage and five home runs across 118 games last season. He did, however, slug 20 home runs in 2009 for San Francisco.
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.