New York Yankees infielder Robinson Cano gestures during workouts before a spring training baseball game against the Boston Red Sox in Tampa

Yankees have talked to Robinson Cano about extension

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Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner told reporters today that “there’s been a conversation or two” with Robinson Cano about a long-term contract extension.

Cano is entering the final season of a deal signed in February of 2008 and will make $15 million before hitting the open market as a free agent.

Cano is a Scott Boras client and the agent typically encourages players to avoid extensions once they near free agency, but then again the Yankees rarely let an in-his-prime star leave. That could mean simply out-bidding everyone else for Cano as a free agent, of course.

Adding to the intrigue is that Cano has a chance to become the highest-paid second baseman of all time. In fact, he almost surely will. Right now Ian Kinsler has the highest average annual salary at $15 million and no second baseman has ever gotten $100 million. That says something about how second basemen tend to age and about how teams tend to value infielders who lack the range/arm to play shortstop or the arm to play third base, but regardless of all that Cano will top $100 million with ease.

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.