Bob Brenly Diamondbacks

10 years later, Bob Brenly still bitter about Ben Davis’ bunt

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Whether our entry yesterday had anything to do with it or not, Cubs PBP man Len Kasper decided to bring up the Curt Schilling game with former Diamondbacks manager and current Cubs color guy Bob Brenly today on WGN.

And Brenly still isn’t happy about the play, saying that Davis did in fact break unwritten rules by bunting to ruin Schilling’s chance at a perfect game on May 26, 2001.  Kasper pointed out that the bunt single brought the tying run to the plate, and Brenly didn’t much seem to care, saying it was never right to break up a no-hitter with a bunt.

In giving his reasons for being upset, Brenly repeatedly called Davis a backup catcher and said Davis had never bunted for a hit in his career.  He said second baseman Jay Bell was playing extra deep at second base because Davis never bunted and that was why Davis was able to come up with a hit on what was a “terrible” bunt.

The data on whether Davis ever had a bunt hit previously isn’t available, but Brenly wasn’t being entirely fair.  Davis was something of an established regular at that time.  He went on to play in 138 games in 2001, hitting 11 homers and driving in 57 runs.  The Padres actually had him batting fifth that day against the Diamondbacks.  And while he certainly wasn’t an accomplished bunter, he did have three sacrifices in 2000.

Brenly also made the comment that his statements at the time slamming Davis may have been overly heated because the Schilling game was the first in a doubleheader and, as a result, he had to talk to the press immediately after the game and didn’t have time to cool down.

Of course, we do have some data there.  The Diamondbacks played no doubleheader that day.  It was a pretty typical Saturday night game — the third game in a four-game series.  Arizona played just one doubleheader that year, that coming three months later.

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.