Did you know that Daryle Ward was still kicking around baseball? Me neither! But he is. And now he’s been suspended for 50 games after a positive amphetamines test. From the press release:
Free agent Minor League first baseman Daryle Ward has received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for an amphetamine. The suspension of Ward is effective immediately upon his signing with a Major League organization.
Given that he turns 37 this year, his last stint in the majors was in 2008 and his time last season was split between independent ball and double-A, that last sentence implies really, really strongly that the suspension will never be served.
Also suspended: free agent pitcher Dustin Richardson, who last played in the bigs for the Red Sox in 2010. Since then he’s been in the Marlins and, most recently, the Braves’ systems, where he has not exactly distinguished himself. His suspension reads like the Physician’s Desk Reference:
Free agent Minor League left-handed pitcher Dustin Richardson has received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for an amphetamine, Letrozole and metabolite, Methandienone metabolite, Methenelone and metabolite, and Trenbolone and metabolite.
No word on whether or not either Ward or Richardson will be invited to Brewers’ Fan Fest.
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.