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What’s the point of the waiver trade deadline?

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We post on random waiver deals and waiver deal rumors, but our hearts aren’t really in it because it’s all rather silly.  Yes, it matters when a trade is made, but if I had to bet the lives of my children on anything in this world it would be that the “Player X claimed by Team Y on waiver” tweet will be immediately followed by a ” … but a trade is unlikely to happen” tweet.

It’s just the nature of the business when a mostly meaningless, largely automatic process like waivers is suddenly subjected to intense media scrutiny thanks to Twitter and the like.  The information is almost entirely disposable, but since the reports don’t take up column inches or require an editor to pass over them, it’s all good.  No one was writing about waiver claims 20 years ago.

So what’s the point of waivers in the first place?  Bill asks that question over at The Platoon Advantage today. His conclusion, bolstered by some history of the whole deadline process, is that there is no point. At least not anymore.  He thinks we should either make a hard and fast trade deadline for all purposes or else allow trading to happen in any way at any time.

Not bad suggestions.

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.