Jose Bautista

WAR does the All-Star teams – AL version

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Going strictly by Wins Above Replacement (in this case, the Baseball-Reference version of it), here’s your 2011 AL All-Star team of the moment:

C Matt Wieters (Orioles) – 1.6
1B Adrian Gonzalez (Red Sox) – 1.9
2B Howie Kendrick (Angels) – 2.2
3B Kevin Youkilis (Red Sox) – 1.9
SS Asdrubal Cabrera (Indians) – 1.8
LF Jeff Francoeur (Royals) – 2.1
CF Denard Span (Twins) – 2.4
RF Jose Bautista (Blue Jays) – 4.1
DH Matt Joyce (Rays) – 2.9

C Alex Avila (Tigers) – 1.6
C Carlos Santana (Indians) – 1.5
1B Miguel Cabrera (Tigers) – 1.6
1B Justin Smoak (Mariners) – 1.3
2B Robinson Cano (Yankees) – 1.2
3B Adrian Beltre (Rangers) – 1.5
SS Erick Aybar (Angels) – 1.4
INF Maicer Izturis (Angels) – 1.9
OF Curtis Granderson (Yankees) – 1.9
OF Shin-Soo Choo (Indians) – 1.8
OF Ben Zobrist (Rays) – 1.7
OF Michael Brantley (Indians) – 1.5

Josh Beckett (Red Sox) – 2.8
Dan Haren (Angels) – 2.8
Trevor Cahill (Athletics) – 2.5
Zach Britton (Orioles) – 2.4
Jered Weaver (Angels) – 2.2
Alexi Ogando (Rangers) – 2.0
James Shields (Rays) – 2.0
Justin Verlander (Tigers) – 2.0

Sergio Santos (White Sox) – 1.5
Aaron Crow (Royals) – 1.2
Mariano Rivera (Yankees) – 1.1
Grant Balfour (Athletics) – 1.0
Glen Perkins (Twins) – 0.9

– Obviously, WAR really likes Span’s defense this year.   It rates him as the AL’s No. 3 outfielder even though he’s hitting a modest .286/.358/.345.  Curtis Granderson has an OPS nearly 250 points higher, yet he’s been a half-win less valuable, according to the stat.

– Going strictly by WAR, the pitching staff would have been all starters.  I moved on to relievers, though, to keep it realistic.  Max Scherzer and Michael Pineda were the top starters not to make the cut.  If I had added Pineda to the pitching staff as Seattle’s representative, then Paul Konerko (1.4) would have made the cut at first base over Smoak.

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.