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Marlins on deck for Showtime series “The Franchise”

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UPDATE: Confirming what Variety reported last month, MLB officially announced today that the Marlins will be Showtime’s subject for this season of “The Franchise.” New episodes are expected to begin around the All-Star break.

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Last year Showtime featured the reigning World Series champion Giants on their documentary series “The Franchise” and they’re close to naming the Marlins as the subject for the show’s second season.

Jon Weisman of Variety reports that “Showtime and Major League Baseball are believed to be close to a deal” that would allow the cameras to follow the Marlins around for the season, which could be pretty amazing television considering the presence of Ozzie Guillen and Carlos Zambrano, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez, and Logan Morrison and his Twitter account, not to mention the new ballpark and new uniforms.

According to Weisman the series drew an average of 651,000 viewers per show last year, with eight total episodes chronicling the Giants’ unsuccessful attempt to repeat as champs.

I’m hoping following the Marlins around goes so well that Ozzie gets his own spin-off show and maybe even does some crossover guest appearances on “Shameless.” I think he’d have great chemistry with Emmy Rossum.

Jake Diekman will miss at least half of the 2017 season

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: Jake Diekman #41 of the Texas Rangers works against the Toronto Blue Jays in the sixth inning during game three of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre on October 9, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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Rangers reliever Jake Diekman will have surgery on January 25 to help alleviate ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. As a result, the lefty will miss at least half of the 2017 regular season, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Diekman was diagnosed with the illness when he was 11 years old. He has brought awareness to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America with a “Gut It Out” campaign.

Diekman, who turns 30 years old on Saturday, finished the 2016 campaign with a 3.40 ERA and a 59/26 K/BB ratio in 53 innings. He came to the Rangers from the Phillies in the Cole Hamels trade on July 31, 2015.

The Rangers and Diekman avoided arbitration last Friday, agreeing to a $2.55 million salary for the 2017 season.

The Blue Jays and Bautista have reached a one year deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 19:  Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays looks on during batting practice prior to game five of the American League Championship Series against the Cleveland Indians at Rogers Centre on October 19, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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It’s been on the verge of happening for a few days now, but now it’s official: the Toronto Blue Jays and Jose Bautista have reached a one-year deal with a mutual option. The deal is pending physical. An announcement making the deal official is expected later in week.

The exact financial figures have not been disclosed, but Jon Heyman reports that it will be in excess of the $17.2 million Bautista turned down when he turned down the Jays’ qualifying offer.

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.