While the Tigers are prepared to begin the season with a closer-by-committee approach, Jose Valverde is still out there looking for a job.
According to Jason Beck of MLB.com, Valverde’s agent, Scott Boras, said today that his client has thrown bullpen sessions for scouts from multiple teams in recent days in his native Dominican Republic and has more planned. Boras declined to say which teams have taken a look at Valverde thus far, but he expects a deal to come together fairly soon once the upcoming workouts are complete.
“Our plan was to wait and see what closer options availed themselves at this time,” Boras said.
After finishing fifth in the AL Cy Young Award balloting in 2011, Valverde averaged a career-low 6.3 K/9 last season and lost his grip on the closer role during the Tigers’ World Series run. The 35-year-old right-hander is open to a one-year deal, but a reunion with Detroit is considered “highly unlikely.”
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.
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.