This story is only tangentially linked to baseball, but it’s a slow Saturday afternoon, so what the heck. As you’ll see below, former pro wrestler Jake “The Snake” Roberts led the Turner Field crowd in “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during last night’s game between the Dodgers and Braves.
Roberts (whose real name is Aurelian Smith, Jr.) doesn’t have the best singing voice, but that shouldn’t come as any surprise to those who watched him wrestle in the 80s and 90s.
The 57-year-old Roberts has had all sorts of issues with drug and alcohol addiction, but he has cleaned himself up recently with the help of another former pro wrestler, Diamond Dallas Page. These days, Roberts is doing things like tweeting pictures of his gluten-free cookie mix. 2013 is weird, man. But in all seriousness, it’s nice to hear that he is making an effort to turn his life around.
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.
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.