Ian Kinsler AP

Rangers activate Ian Kinsler from disabled list, keep Jurickson Profar around

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Ian Kinsler has been activated from the disabled list and will bat leadoff and play second base this afternoon against the Blue Jays. In turn, the Rangers have optioned Leury Garcia to Triple-A Round Rock and will keep Jurickson Profar around in a utility role.

Kinsler has been sidelined since May 17 due to a right intercostal strain, but he made it through two rehab games with Double-A Frisco without any issues. The 30-year-old returns to a .302/.369/.500 batting line to go along with seven home runs, 20 RBI, and three stolen bases in 40 games this season.

Profar, who was called up from the minors after Kinsler was injured, is batting .278/.326/.392 with two home runs, three doubles, and seven RBI in 87 plate appearances. It could be a challenge to get him enough at-bats to justify keeping him with the big club, so Anthony Andro of FOXSportsSouthwest.com notes that the Rangers plan to have him work with third base coach Gary Pettis on outfield drills. It should be an interesting situation to monitor.

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.