Nick Swisher

Nick Swisher is in The Best Shape of His Life

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This has to be the last one of these, right? Games are being played. Pitchers are going more than two innings. Clearly we’re past the point where feature articles are being written about ballplayers rededicating themselves and all of that, right?

Oh well, for now at least, here’s the last one: Nick Swisher:

Yet few think of Swisher in that company, and he knows he’s running out of time to change outside perceptions. After a generally down year in 2011, he rededicated himself to his offseason workouts. He showed up ripped, and said he’s quicker, stronger, and faster than ever before—something manager Joe Girardi couldn’t help but notice.

“He’s all three of those—quicker, stronger, and faster. I think he gets around the bases better, I watch him in the outfield, I watched him play first base the other day—he’s swung the bat well,” Girardi said.

That “outside perceptions” stuff is about how, despite being a pretty darn productive player overall, people tend to think of him as more of a goofball than as a solid, dedicated ballplayer.

Gee, if only people stopped making such unwarranted assumptions.

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.

Padres sign Trevor Cahill

Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Trevor Cahill (53) during the seventh inning of Game 3 in baseball's National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
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The Padres have signed Trevor Cahill to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.

As recently as the middle of the 2015 season it looked like Cahill’s career would meet a premature end, but after being released by the Braves and signing with the Cubs in August of that season he has been a remarkably effective reliever. He has posted a 2.61 ERA in 61 games in Chicago and has posted a strikeout rate far above his career norms.

He’s not someone you necessarily want taking the hill when the leverage is high, but in San Diego the leverage won’t be all that high all that often.