Thames_Marcus

Comment of the Day: Marcus Thames is no stiff

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I’m still irked at T.J. Simers’ weapons-grade idiocy in his Marcus Thames column.  And a lot of what is animating that is something that I neglected to mention in the last post on it: Marcus Thames is a really, really nice guy.  I’ve never met him, but several reporters I know have talked about him being warm and friendly, as have several fans who have had the privilege to root for him or meet him.  No, he’s not a five-tool player. No, he’s not a superstar. But that’s kinda not the point.

A few minutes ago reader PierzynskiAteMyKitten — um, viva pseudonyms — posted his own Thames recollection:

Thames is a class act, and it’s painful to see him attacked like this.  While with the Tigers, he was always mentioned in the same sentence as Granderson as one of the truly good guys in baseball.

Here’s my little Thames anecdote: while he was rehabbing with the Toledo Mud Hens, I saw him play my local Durham Bulls.  It was a drizzly day, and I was one of the few fans in the stands, and one of even fewer to be dressed in full Tigers regalia near the Mud Hens dugout.  There was another family of Tigers fans near me, including several young kids, also in full Tigers gear.  Before the game, Thames came over and chatted with us for a while, and then gave the kids a boatload of gear, including a bat, balls, and batting gloves.  It was by far the coolest interaction I’ve ever had with a pro baseball player.

This is who Simers decided to belittle. This is who Simers decided to go after when he had a case of writer’s block.  I realize it’s hard for Simers, what with him having written nine entire items in the month of March so far, to come up with new material, but one would think that he’d choose a different target to attack when he felt the need.

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.