Obama First Pitch

Obama to be the first sitting president to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame

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Why does this crypto-socialist hate America?

President Barack Obama says he’s heading to the Baseball Hall of Fame to stress how tourism can lead to good-paying jobs. In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama says he’ll be in Cooperstown, New York, on Thursday.

Both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — both excellent baseball players and huge baseball fans — visited the the hall before or after their time in the White House. Bill Clinton went once after he left office. Not sure if that was a fan thing or if he was campaigning around New York for his wife or for someone else. If I remember correctly Billy was more of a college hoops guy. I’m not sure about other presidents. Reagan likely went at some time. He was a baseball broadcaster once, after all. I’m guessing Ford, Nixon and Johnson all thought Canton was better. Jimmy Carter was gonna go but he decided it’d cost too much in gas money and chose to stay back and read a book about alternative energy instead.

Obama is there as part of a tourism/economic speech so it’s not all play, but he’s a legit baseball fan, so I hope he has fun with it at least. Like, maybe he’ll realize that he never has to stand for election again, tell himself to forget about the political repercussions and make a full-throated call for the induction of Barry Bonds.

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.