Division Series - Detroit Tigers v Oakland Athletics - Game One

Torii Hunter eager to extend his playing career past 2014

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Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter is through year one of his two-year deal signed in November last year. He’ll turn 39 years old on July 18, so the thought was that the contract would create a clear path into retirement, but Hunter sounds eager to continue playing beyond that. Via MLB.com:

Asked Friday, prior to his team’s American League Championship Series workout at Fenway Park, if he plans on retiring after the 2014 season, Hunter said: “Nope. I think I’m going to play five more years. I’m 28, man!”

The last part was a joke, and the media contingent laughed, but Hunter wants to stay with the Tigers a little longer and is certain that next season won’t be his last in the big leagues.

“No, it won’t be. It won’t be,” Hunter said. “I want to play past that contract.”

Hunter had a renaissance season of sorts, hitting .304 with an even .800 OPS and 17 home runs. He is only a year removed from a 5.8 WAR season with the Angels, per Baseball Reference, and he finished the regular season with 2.1 in 2013, so he certainly has something left in the tank.

Whether Hunter will prolong his career with the Tigers or with another club is another conversation entirely. They will still have their core players in 2015, including Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Justin Verlander, and Anibal Sanchez, but it’s hard to tell if they’ll produce at such a high level that the TIgers will continue to be a powerhouse.

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.