Despite the recently debunked trade rumor involving Jose Bautista and the Phillies, started by radio personality Howard Eskin, the Blue Jays may still be willing to move him for pitching help according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Cafardo writes that the Jays are looking to add multiple starters. Given the dearth of quality arms available in free agency, acquiring at least one pitcher via trade may make sense for the Jays.
Bautista turned 33 years old last month and is owed $14 million in each of the 2014 and 2015 seasons, quite reasonable for a player of his caliber. However, he has played in fewer than 120 games in each of the past two seasons, suffering from a wrist injury in 2012 and a hip contusion last season.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.
It’s not known yet what kind of contract the two sides are negotiating. It could be a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, a non-guaranteed major league contract, or a guaranteed major league contract.
The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.