Turner Field

Georgia State University has big plans for Turner Field once the Braves leave

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And no, it does not involve pouring concrete over Dan Uggla where he sits and turning him into a “living memorial.” I wouldn’t object to that, but GSU is just not on the same page as me. From the AJC:

The university wants to convert The Ted into a new 30,000-seat football, soccer and track-and-field stadium and build a new baseball park, academic buildings and green space. A private team led by real estate development powerhouse Carter and Columbia Residential would build private student housing, a mixed-use campus of shops, restaurants, retail and single-family and market-rate apartment homes on a majority of the surrounding area of about 80 acres.

There’s a map in the story showing the plan. As is the case with all situations like this, it’s a huge, huge leap from proposal stage to actually turning dirt, but it does show that there is interest in the site. There are reportedly three or four other entities who have development ideas too.

Thing about plans like this one? They represent way better use of the property than the current use to which the Braves are putting it. For a lot of reasons — some innocuous and reasonable and logistics-related, some drenched with history and problematic social arrangements and attitudes — baseball fans don’t care to come to Turner Field en masse and even when they do, they don’t want to hang around. If they did there would have been more development around the place in the past 17 years.

Who knows what will ultimately happen there — redevelopments can be great or awful and it’s way to early to know how this goes –but seeing this property better serve the citizens of Atlanta than it’s serving them now would go a long, long way toward alleviating the concerns the Braves’ unexpected move out of downtown has raised.

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.