Jon Heyman reports that Hanley Ramirez — who hits free agency after this season — is seeking a contract in “excess of $130 million” from the Dodgers. Not that he’s going to get it. Or at least not any time soon. Heyman’s source tells him that there is a “significant gap” between Ramirez and the Dodgers at this point.
Ramirez is off to a relatively slow start this season and missed nearly half of last season to injury. But he has been pretty darn good overall, hitting .313/.377/.570 with 25 homers and 13 stolen bases in the 127 games he’s played since the start of last year.
There aren’t a lot of shortstops in that pay grade. Troy Tulowitzki is on a $157 million deal, but he was several years younger than Ramirez is now when he signed it. Same with Elvis Andrus, who signed a $120 million deal with the Rangers. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Stephen Drew: an above average shortstop who was good enough to start for the World Series winner, but who is now currently unemployed. Ramirez is better than him, of course, but the point is that it’s a long way down from one tier to the next in shortstop land.
At the same time, there aren’t a lot of great shortstops out there either, so who knows? Ramirez is going to be hard to predict. His health this season may go a long way in determining if he gets the sort of payday he’s looking for.
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.