Stephen Drew

Stephen Drew expected to rejoin Diamondbacks next Wednesday

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Stephen Drew hasn’t played in a major league game since undergoing right ankle surgery 11 months ago, but he’s finally close to rejoining the Diamondbacks’ lineup.

Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers said on Arizona Sports Radio 620 earlier today that the team is hopeful that Drew will be activated from the disabled list next Wednesday.

Drew began his rehab assignment with Triple-A Reno earlier this month and is hitting .250 (8-for-32) with two homers, five RBI and an .865 OPS over eight games. The 29-year-old shortstop was eased into game action initially, but he recently began playing in back-to-back games. He is scheduled to leave the team for a couple of days following a death in the family, but Towers said he should join Double-A Mobile on Sunday to resume his rehab assignment.

“Probably Sunday/Monday hopefully Mobile for two days, Tuesday recovery day, and hopefully Wednesday he’s activated in Atlanta,” Towers said.

Drew is a .270/.330/.442 hitter over his first six seasons in the majors. He’ll be a welcome addition to the lineup, although Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson recently suggested that he expects to give him regular rest upon his return.

There’s a pretty good chance that this will be Drew’s final season with Arizona, as neither side appears likely to exercise his $10 million option for 2013 and Diamondbacks managing general partner Ken Kendrick recently expressed frustration about his lengthy rehab process.

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.