Joe Mauer was finally beginning to look like his old self following last year’s season-ending concussion and a terrible start to this season, hitting .320 over his last 20 games, but last night he suffered a strained oblique muscle while hitting a double to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.
That’s almost never a quick-healing injury and Mauer revealed after the game that he’s actually been playing through discomfort for about a week, so the Twins have already placed him on the disabled list and called up first baseman/outfielder Chris Colabello from Triple-A to replace him on the roster.
Mauer’s move from catcher to first base had Twins fans hopeful that his already strong production would increase, but instead he’s hit a career-worst .271 with two homers and a career-worst .695 OPS in 76 games while striking out more than ever. His recent hot streak was reason for optimism, but now Mauer will be out for at least two weeks and probably closer to a month.
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.