Tyler Flowers was handed the starting catcher job following A.J. Pierzynski’s departure as a free agent, but he’s hit just .206 with 70 strikeouts in 64 games and now the White Sox are bringing in another option behind the plate.
Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com reports that the White Sox are calling up Triple-A catcher Josh Phegley, who’s hitting .316 with 15 homers, 18 doubles, and a .966 OPS in 61 games for Charlotte.
That’s certainly production worthy of a call-up, but Phegley is 25 years old and has never hit anywhere near that well before. Last season at Triple-A he hit just .266 with six homers and a .680 OPS in 102 games and his career slugging percentage in five seasons as a minor leaguer is .417.
Pierzynski, meanwhile, has hit .280 with seven homers and a .745 OPS in 62 games for the Rangers to basically match his career averages at age 36.
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.