The BoSox Injection staff looks at players available on the free agent market that the Boston Red Sox may have interest in this offseason.
The Red Sox second ‘worst to first’ season in four years was largely because of offseason moves made by the front office. However, there were some holes and inconsistency in the Red Sox lineup at times and Jose Bautista could be the answer.
The biggest hole the Red Sox will have to fill is the designated hitter spot as we say goodbye to David Ortiz. With a pretty good stock of potential DH’s in Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion, expect the Red Sox to target at least one of them.
Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported that Bautista may feel inclined to make a move to Boston, instead of staying in Toronto. Cafardo also stated that the word around the majors is that “Bautista, 36, will get multiyear offers in free agency. Boston could be a preferred destination, with Bautista having played for John Farrell and Brian Butterfield in Toronto. Bautista also loves Fenway Park.”
Bautista is coming off his worst year in Toronto with a .234 average with only 22 home runs and 69 RBI’s. The six-time All-Star and three time silver slugger will absolutely look to cash in this offseason, despite having a tough year at age 36.
Why he fits
Bautista has hit well at Fenway Park his entire career, hitting .276 with 24 home runs and 54 RBI’s in 66 career games. Bautista’s ability to use the Monster to his advantage is why he seems to have so much success at Fenway.
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Bautista brings energy to a team and plays the game hard. Remember his “bat flip heard around the world” two years ago in Game 5 of the ALDS? Say what you want about that, but that speaks a lot about Bautista’s passion and love for the game.
Lastly, although Bautista has played a pretty solid right field his entire career, last season he did look a little slow and speedy center fielder, Kevin Pillar, bailed him out more than a few times. This decline in his defense makes sense that it may be time for Bautista to DH.
Why he doesn’t fit
Although Bautista has been one of the most feared hitters in baseball for quite some time now, he is 36. I know if you ask Ortiz he’d tell you age doesn’t matter, but with Bautista coming off an injury filled season, there has got to be some red flags there with his health.
Also, Bautista has earned the right to explore the market after turning his career around in Toronto after having a dreadful career in Pittsburgh. Bautista is going to want to get paid, and I don’t think the Red Sox will be willing to throw him too much money just to DH.
Will they sign him?
As far as searching for some power in there line up, I’d have to believe that Bautista is Boston’s third option with Encarnacion and Trumbo both ahead of him has potential DH targets. However, if Encarnacion stays in Toronto and Trumbo goes elsewhere, I’d expect the Red Sox to go after Bautista. I guess will just have to wait and see how it all pans out.