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Jose Bautista signs with Braves as third baseman

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This is fun: the Atlanta Braves have signed free agent Jose Bautista to a minor league contract. And they plan to use him as a third baseman.

Bautista has played nearly 400 games at third base in his career, but, while he’s taken a small handful of turns there over the past few seasons, he hasn’t played it regularly for a decade. Bautista will report to the club’s extended spring training complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, however, and start taking reps. At age 37, I seriously doubt he’ll be a positive defensive contributor there, but it’s kinda fun, isn’t it?

The point of grabbing Bautista, though, is that he could provide some nearly-free offense. Last year he put up his worse offensive season since his lost, early years in Pittsburgh, but still managed to hit 23 homers. He had an above-average batting line in 2016, however, and was downright valuable in 2015.

Is it likely that he’ll be a solid middle-of-the-order bat now? Nah, but it’s zero risk with at least some potential reward. And kudos to the Braves for at least attempting to think outside of the box and sign a guy who some fans might find enjoyable to watch in the event he can play his way into the lineup.

The Players’ Weekend uniforms are terrible

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The Yankees and the Dodgers have a storied World Series history, having met in the Fall Classic 11 times. Part of what made those falls so classic was the livery worn by each club.

The Yankees’ uniforms have gone unchanged since 1936. The Dodgers, though changing cities in 1958, have had the same basic, classic look with only minor derivations for almost as long. You can’t even say the names of these teams without picturing pinstripes, those red Dodgers numbers, both teams’ clean road grays, the Yankees navy and the Dodgers’ Dodger blue.

They looked like a couple of expansion teams last night however, at least sartorially speaking.

As you probably know it’s Players’ Weekend this weekend, and teams all over the league wore either all black or all white with player-chosen nicknames on the back. We’ve had the nicknames for a couple of years now and that’s fine, but the black and white combo is new. It doesn’t look great, frankly. I riffed on that on Twitter yesterday a good bit. But beyond my mere distaste for the ensembles, they present a pretty problematic palette, too.

For one thing the guys in black blend in with the umpires. Quick, look at these infields and tell me who’s playing and who’s officiating:

The white batting helmets look especially bad:

But some guys — like Enrique Hernandez of the Dodgers, realized that pine tar makes the white helmets look super special:

There was also a general issue with the white-on-white uniforms in that it’s rather hard to read the names and the numbers on the backs of the jerseys. This was especially true during the Cubs-Nationals game in the afternoon sunlight. You’ll note this as a much bigger problem on Sunday. It’s all rather ironic, of course, that the players have been given the right to put fun, quirky nicknames on the backs of their jerseys but no one can really see them.

The SNY booth was reading many people’s minds last night, noting how much Mad Magazine “Spy vs. Spy” energy this is throwing off:

I’ll also note that if you’re flipping between games or looking at highlights on social media it’s super hard to even tell which team is which — and even what game’s highlights you’re seeing — just by looking which, you know, is sort of the point of having uniforms in the first place.

I’m glad the players have a weekend in which they’re allowed to wear what they want. I just wish they’d wear something better.