Alex Rodriguez

A-Rod’s career is not over. Just stop it.

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David Schoenfield is one of my favorite baseball writers, but I saw this in his latest post and just can’t agree:

The more I think about the report out of Miami, the more I think we’ve seen the last of Alex Rodriguez in a major league uniform.

Schoenfield is not the only one to say this today. Several writers — many who should probably know better — have declared A-Rod’s career over today.  And I simply do not see how we get from here to there via any reasonable path.

As I noted earlier today, the Yankees are not going to void A-Rod’s deal. If they try it won’t work so they probably won’t even try. That leaves A-Rod with five years and $114 million left on his contract. He’s not walking away from that.

What might happen? He may get suspended for 50 games, after which he would come back.  He may — if the Yankees simply get totally disgusted and hysterical about things — get released.  In which case 29 teams can have Alex Rodriguez’s services for the league minimum. Back to Schoenfield:

When he was on the field last year for the 122 games he played in the regular season, Rodriguez was still reasonably productive, hitting .272/.353/.430.

That, I think, is the alpha and omega here. It’s not anywhere close to being worth his contract, but it’s quite useful from someone making almost no money. He’s not some monumental flake like Manny Ramirez. If healthy, he even has some defensive value. Someone would take a chance on him. The only factor would be the strength of his hip, not his status as a media pariah.

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.