Geovany Soto, Adrian Beltre, Yu Darvish, Ron Washington

Rules changes for next year include coaches, managers being able to bring interpreters to the mound

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Jayson Stark reports on several potential rules changes that spun out of last week’s owners meetings. The most notable: coaches and managers will be able to bring an interpreter to the mound for meetings with players who don’t speak fluent English.

No word if Phillies pitchers will get their own English-to-1940s grifter interpreter for when Charlie Manuel comes out for pitching changes.  “I don’t even know what ‘what’s the rumpus’ means,” said Cole Hamels, explaining his support for the rule.

Other proposed changes:

  • Teams will be permitted to have a seventh coach in uniform; the previous limit was six; and
  • The fake-to-third, throw-to-first pickoff move would now be considered a balk.

The first one is because so many teams are hiring assistant hitting coaches.  The second rule must be aimed at bloggers and color commentators, who will now no longer be able to say “that move rarely works, so I don’t know why they do it.”

The proposed changes have to now be approved by the union before being implemented.

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.