Potential Landing Spots For Jose Bautista
Jose Bautista is still looking for a home for next season, and it's starting to look like he's willing to take a deal that would be for fewer years. Also, include the fact that some of the biggest bats in free agency have already signed with teams such as Edwin Encarnacion signing with the Cleveland Indians and Yoenis Cespedes returning to the New York Mets. With a limited free agent market left for sluggers a team that's desperate for a great middle of the lineup presence might reach out to Jose Bautista. In his case, it seems as though teams are avoiding the long-term deal because of his age and slight decline over the last couple of years. So, what teams are interested in the slugger and where would Bautista fit best?
Let's start out with his most recent team; this deal makes too much sense for both sides. Jose Bautista is, of course, familiar with the team and has had plenty of success during his tenure with the Jays. On the other hand, the team needs to strengthen their outfield that consists of Melvin Upton, Steve Pearce, Ezequiel Carrera, and Dalton Pompey. None of these outfielders posted a batting average over .270, and they had a combined 29 home runs last season. That's a typical year for Jose Bautista and proves that there's a need for an outfielder, and the Blue Jays might have to consider bringing back him back or possibly exploring another option. There have been rumors though that the Jays have shown some interest in New York Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner, so it looks as though they are also willing to move on from their former slugger if he proves to be too costly.
With the Phillies making moves this offseason I have questioned their motives on whether or not they are going to be rebuilding for the future or if they are trying to compete this year. Signing free agent slugger Jose Bautista is entirely possible for the Phillies, and it's been rumored that they've already reached out to Jose. They have already acquired second baseman Howie Kendrick and starting Pitcher Clay Buckholz. Now for this situation to be possible, it'll have to be a one year deal most likely, and this could give the Phillies the option to trade him by midseason if the slugger finds his old ways because the Phillies would have to give up a second-round pick if they signed Jose Bautista. The reason for this is that the Phillies would have to give away this pick as compensation since Bautista has already received the qualifying offer from the Jays. In this case, they would hope that Bautista would be worth more than a second-round pick in trade value by the midseason.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants are a good team that is currently in the market for a big time hitter and haven't been able to fill this role since Barry Bonds retired back in 2007. Bonds was the last person who posted 30 or more home runs in a Giants uniform. That's not to say you can't win without one as they've proven to be successful without a power hitter as they have won three championships since Bonds departure but if you watched them at all last year you could see the desperation there is in that lineup for a power hitter. We'll see if the Giants make a move on Bautista or if they decide to go elsewhere such as 29-year-old Korean superstar Jae-Gyun Hwang. This situation will be something to monitor over the offseason.
The Orioles hit gold with Mark Trumbo last season when he hit 46 home runs and had over 100 RBI's. They would obviously like to replace this bat with another power hitter if they can't reach a deal with Trumbo and Jose Bautista could be the perfect fit for that role as the right-handed power hitter to help compliment Chris Davis in this lineup. Having a right handed bat like Bautista makes for a scary combination in the AL East and could put them back in contention once again.
With the Astros making important strides this offseason to improve their lineup by acquiring Brian McAnn, Carlos Beltran and Josh Reddick why not go out and get Jose Bautista to fill out that already solid outfield. This move could put the Astros in a spot to compete for the World Series as their pitching staff should be healthy leading into the 2017 season and with rumors that they've been in talks with the Chicago White Sox for starting pitcher Jose Quintana. A move like this provides the Astros with a bolstered rotation for 2017. Then you'd have Jose Bautista who is notorious for pulling the ball hitting in a ballpark that has one of the shortest left field porches in baseball at 315 feet. A perfect place for Jose Bautista to find his power once again and to help take this team to the next level.
Boston Red Sox
Even with this lineup being as potent as it is the Red Sox will surely miss David Ortiz this season. The Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has proven to be aggressive and he's more than willing to pay for big time, free agents. If Dombrowski feels as though there is a hole in this lineup left by David Ortiz, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him reach out to Bautista this offseason to fill that DH role.
So Where Will He End Up?
I believe the best fit for Jose Bautista would be to stay in the AL East and to sign with the Baltimore Orioles. If the O's can't resign Trumbo, they'll want to add another slugger to complement Chris Davis in that lineup. Either way, I don't think Jose Bautista will sign a deal for more than three years and will more than likely sign a one-year deal to try to prove his worth for free agency in 2018.