Doesn’t work that way I suppose, but last night’s walkoff grand slam probably covers for a lot of past transgressions by Jordany Valdespin. Who I vaguely understood was unpopular with his teammates due to some immature antics and lackadaisical play, but I had no idea just how unpopular and how lackadaisical it was until I read Andy Martino’s piece on him in the Daily News this morning.
Some people may say “only on the Mets” to stuff like that, but for Valdespin I’d say “lucky it’s on the Mets.” Because there’s a decent chance that a guy like him never sees the light of day on a more talented team, as baseball just doesn’t tolerate knuckleheads like that. At least those who aren’t capable of superstar play.
The grand slam doesn’t erase all that stuff — if he has a rough stretch his weirdness and immaturity will be just as big a problem as it was before — but it’ll be interesting to see if growing as a professional and a talent go hand-in-hand.
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.