Dan Uggla

Dan Uggla off to slow start

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2012 was the worst season of Dan Uggla’s career. He set career lows in home runs (19), batting average (.220), and slugging percentage (.384). If he hoped for sunnier days in 2013, he is starting off on the wrong foot. The Braves’ second baseman has just two hits and a whopping ten strikeouts in 18 spring at-bats.

Uggla says he isn’t worried. Via the AJC:

“I’ve never been one of those guys that starts off hot, in spring training especially,” he said. “There’s always an adjustment period—getting the timing, figuring out how to stand in the batter’s box again. (The at-bats) have been pretty bad, to say the least, but they are always bad in the first couple weeks of spring.”

Uggla did lead the league in walks with 94 last season and with the Braves’ lineup now stacked with talent, they are less reliant on him for power production. Still, both parties are hoping he can revert to his 2008-10 levels of production.

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.