Justin Morneau went just 1-for-10 in the Twins’ opening series against the Blue Jays, but there were plenty of reasons for optimism following his first game action in nine months.
Morneau played all three games in his long-delayed comeback from a July concussion, struck out just once, and made three or four loud outs on hard-hit balls to the outfield, including a near-double caught in the left-center field gap and a near-homer hauled in at the warning track.
And then last night he finally got some hits to drop, going 2-for-4 with a well-struck double versus the Yankees. Morneau’s timing may not be all the way back to where it was, but his swing definitely looks good enough that durability and overall health remain far bigger question marks than his bat. If he’s able to stay in the lineup consistently, he’ll hit.
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.
The Padres have signed Trevor Cahill to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.
As recently as the middle of the 2015 season it looked like Cahill’s career would meet a premature end, but after being released by the Braves and signing with the Cubs in August of that season he has been a remarkably effective reliever. He has posted a 2.61 ERA in 61 games in Chicago and has posted a strikeout rate far above his career norms.
He’s not someone you necessarily want taking the hill when the leverage is high, but in San Diego the leverage won’t be all that high all that often.