Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins and Jay Alou (Jose Bautista’s agent) have remained in contact since speaking on the final day of the Winter Meetings, FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi tweets. It seemed like the door was more or less closed on a reunion between the two sides, though the fact that talks re-opened during the Meetings and have apparently continued represents notable progress. If the qualifying offer and accompanying draft pick compensation has indeed been hampering Bautista’s market, re-signing with the Jays would seem like a logical avenue for Bautista. From Toronto’s perspective, the team would have to see enough value in bringing Bautista back into the fold that it would be willing to pass on the first-round compensation pick the Jays would receive if Bautista signed elsewhere.
Here’s more from around the American League….
- We’ve already heard about the Indians’ one-year offer to Mike Napoli, though earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported (Twitter link) that the Tribe also offered one-year contracts to Matt Holliday and Michael Saunders. Holliday was known to be a Cleveland target and he ended up signing a one-year, $13MM deal with the Yankees. The Blue Jays and Orioles have shown interest in Saunders but the winter rumor mill has otherwise been pretty quiet for the Canadian outfielder. Saunders hit .253/.338/.478 with 24 homers over 558 PA for Toronto last season, though his production badly declined after the All-Star break. The Tribe already has several left-handed hitting or switch-hitting corner outfield options, though Saunders could play in the field or perhaps get some DH time when Carlos Santana is at first base, given Saunders’ poor fielding metrics last season.
- The Rangers continue to have interest in a reunion with Colby Lewis, though there doesn’t appear much has changed between the two sides, GM Jon Daniels tells MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. “There is always going to be interest in Colby. There is no doubt about the man. No question there. There’s not much I can say that hasn’t already been said. It’s more dollars and what the opportunity there is,” Daniels said.
- After a dire 2016 season, the Angels are already looking in better shape for next year, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes. The acquisitions of Cameron Maybin and Danny Espinosa fill two big lineup holes for the Halos, and they’ve added pitching depth to bounce back from the rotation’s injury-plagued season. In Rosenthal’s view, the Angels could be a .500 team with better health and better luck, though making the postseason is still unlikely at this point.