Jose Bautista became the first major leaguer in four years and the first ever Blue Jay to hit 30 homers prior to the All-Star break when he took Cleveland’s Josh Tomlin deep in the third inning Saturday.
Alex Rodriguez was the last player to hit 30 homers in the first half, finishing with exactly that many on his way to hitting 54 overall in 2007.
George Bell held the Blue Jays record with 29 first-half homers in his MVP season of 1987. He ended up with 49 homers that year.
Bautista, this year’s leading vote-getter in All-Star balloting, has hit 60 homers in 156 games since last year’s All-Star break.
Tonight’s homer was also his 100th since joining the Blue Jays late in the 2008 season.
11:00 p.m. EDT: After Jon Rauch blew a save in the ninth, Bautista hit his 31st homer in the 10th inning to lead the Blue Jays to a 5-4 win over the Indians.
It gives him four multihomer games this season. He’s hit seven homers in nine games this month.
Former Tigers infielder Casey McGehee has reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
It’s the fourth move the corner infielder has made in the last two seasons after seeing short-term stints with the Marlins, Giants and Tigers. He signed a minor league deal with the Tigers prior to the 2016 season, providing the club with some infield depth behind 24-year-old Nick Castellanos. When Castellanos hit the disabled list in August with a broken hand, McGehee was recalled from Triple-A Toledo for a 30-game stint and slashed .228/.260/.239 with one extra-base hit in 96 PA. His career batting line (.258/.317/.384 over eight seasons) isn’t too shabby, but his age and a long history of knee injuries puts a damper on his potential.
McGehee last appeared in the NPB circuit in 2013, when he signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. He spent the bulk of his season at the hot corner, batting an impressive .292/.396/.515 with 28 homers in 590 PA and appearing in the Eagles’ first and only championship run to date.
The deal comes with a club option for 2018, Rosenthal reports, though no figure has been specified.
Free agent left-hander Rich Hill is rumored to be entertaining a three-year, $40+ million offer from the Dodgers, reports Peter Gammons. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo corroborated the report, adding that Hill could receive somewhere between $46 and $48 million from his former team.
Hill, 36, pitched to a 2.12 ERA and 3.91 FIP in back-to-back stints with the Athletics and Dodgers in 2016. While a chronic case of blisters on his pitching hand limited the frequency of his starts, he still figures to be one of the most productive and noteworthy starting pitchers on the market this winter.
The Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the left-hander’s services, though Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette said the club has yet to make a play for Hill and ESPN’s Jim Bowden pointed out that the Red Sox are less involved in trade talks than other interested parties.