For free agent Jose Bautista the offseason has been quiet. He has not appeared in many rumors of where he may sign which in part is due to the free agent market being flooded with sluggers who play the designated hitter role.
One of those players is his former teammate with the Blue Jays Edwin Encarnacion, who has signed with the Cleveland Indians.
With Encarnacion now off the market, Bautista’s value seems to be increasing ever so slightly.
The most recent rumor for Bautista has him currently in contract talks with Toronto. Last week, Toronto had yet to make Bautista any formal offer for a contract, and it remains unclear if the team has or has not done so.
The formal contract offer is not that big of a deal, as long as the two sides are in talks and moving forward. If the Blue Jays and Bautista can agree and he signs with Toronto, it would make for a win-win situation for both.
Bautista would return to the Blue Jays where he is a fan favorite north of the border and one of the franchise’s most important players. At the same time, Toronto would keep a slugger in the lineup as well as improve a weakened outfield that has just Melvin Upton, Ezequiel Carrera and Kevin Pillar.
With Bautista in the lineup, the Blue Jays would have a strong batting order with Bautista, Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, Kendrys Morales and others.
The lineup would be heavy on right-handed hitters, but players such as Donaldson, Tulowitzki and Bautista are productive against both right- and left-handed pitching.
If Toronto re-signs Bautista they can keep a first round draft pick, which is part of why a deal would make sense for both sides.
Bautista might have trouble finding a new club that is willing to surrender its top pick in order to sign him.
In addition, Bautista’s value as a marquee player is much greater to Toronto that elsewhere. He is not one of the more popular players with fans across the league.
The amount of clubs that have an opening for someone like Bautista is limited and there remains no real shortage of power bats still in the market.
Chris Carter, Pedro Alvarez and Mark Trumbo all are still unsigned. A reunion between Bautista and the Blue Jays makes far more sense that not and will be good for both it if does happen.