During the All-Star Game last night, Buck and McCarver brought up the topic of players who didn’t show up for the All-Star Game even though they were selected. At that point, Buck referred to a Wall Street Journal article in which Willie Mays had something really pithy to say about the ballplayers who didn’t make it. Here were Buck’s comments:
“Willie Mays had some interesting quotes today in the Wall Street Journal with regard to guys not showing up for this All-Star Game. He said ‘I was rewarded 24 times as an All-Star, and I went 24 times. It’s not jury duty, guys should show up.’”
Except, as Larry Brown Sports points out, Willie Mays did not say it. It was the author of the article who said it, after which he fancifully imagined a bunch of conversations between current ballplayers and Mays, in which he presumed that Mays would disapprove of guys not coming to Phoenix. Mays was not interviewed for the story and there was no effort by the WSJ writer to claim he had been. Just sloppiness by Buck and/or his production team as they looked for material to paint current ballplayers as lazy and entitled.
In Buck’s defense, he does work for a Rupert Murdoch property, and as we’ve seen in the news this week, Murdoch people are privy to non-public conversations all the time. So, yes, perhaps Mays did say the line about jury duty. Just that he said it on his cell phone to his brother-in-law or something.
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.