I missed this yesterday, but apparently there had been a report that the Arizona Diamondbacks could be an alternate candidate to move to the American League in that whole move-the-Astros-to-the-AL realignment gambit. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports, however, that the Dbacks wouldn’t be terribly interested in that. And, for that matter, Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall doesn’t think that they make as much sense geographically as some other team would.
Actually, that last part doesn’t make a ton of sense. Three of the four teams currently in the AL West are on the coast, so adding a team to that division that is closer to the coast would make less overall travel for the division as a whole than adding the Astros would. An AL West Houston team would double the number of trips to Texas for Seattle, Oakland and Anaheim. If you add Arizona, it’s just another stop on the way to California that the Rangers are making anyway. Not saying that travel is the be-all, end-all here — the Braves were in the NL West for 25 years or so — but it’s not nothing.
My guess is that this has a lot more to do with money. I bet that Arizona likes having the Dodgers and Giants fans — who swarm to Phoenix in the spring already — helping out at the gate when they come to town. And you can’t blame him them for liking that.
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.