There is a possibility that an AL East rival outfielder joins the Orioles.
His name is a familiar one, Jose Bautista. Yes, the same Jose Bautista that punched in the face by Rougned Odor earlier this season. The same Bautista that flipped his bat to the Moon against the Texas Rangers, after hitting a home run in the bottom of the seventh inning of game 5 of the 2015 American League Division Series.
I’m not making up this possibility either. This could actually happen. According to an article from MLB Trade Rumors, Joey Bats could be headed to one of a few AL East teams and he also has some could-be suitors in the National League as well:
Free agent outfielder/designated hitter Jose Bautista “loves” both Boston and Fenway Park, making the Red Sox a potential fit for the longtime Blue Jay, per Cafardo. Further, Bautista has fans in Red Sox manager John Farrell and third base coach Brian Butterfield, both of whom were previously in Toronto. If the 36-year-old doesn’t end up rejoining them in Boston, the Rangers, Astros, Orioles, Cardinals, Giants and Braves are also possibilities (the DH-less National League doesn’t seem ideal, though). First things first, Bautista will have to reject Toronto’s qualifying offer by Monday – which seems like a formality.
Ok. I get it. I understand. Bautista has been public enemy number one for the Orioles for what seems to be awhile now. The Orioles need to replace Mark Trumbo‘s power in the lineup or even add a bat that has a little more versatility. Bautista can be a full-time designated hitter or right fielder for Baltimore. It wouldn’t be the worst move in the world. They could also use him as a platoon hitter, much like what they did with Pedro Alvarez.
The biggest issue with this move is the age and declining numbers of Bautista. Last season, Bautista had a slash line of .234/.366/.452 and hit only 22 home runs. He is also 36-years old, meaning that he is no spring chicken. Lastly, Bautista has received the qualifying offer for a one-year contract worth $17.2 million. The Orioles would have to give up a first-round pick to sign him, which may hurt his stock even further.
His on-base percentage is highly encouraging, however. The Orioles need guys that can get on base. Bautista is willing to play multiple positions as well. According to Jon Morosi, we could see Bautista play the infield and the corner outfield positions:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 9, 2016
Bautista could possibly receive a three-year/$51M contract, according to an article from MLB Trade Rumors. The Orioles would be wise to at least take a look at Bautista, as they have done the same with Josh Reddick and Ian Desmond.