Multiple sources claim that Jose Bautista’s agent, Jay Alou, told the Red Sox that his client wanted to spend next year in Beantown.
The Boston Red Sox goal for 2017 (besides winning the World Series), is to stay under the $195 million luxury tax threshold, due to the new CBA. Boston’s current payroll makes it difficult to sign Jose Bautista to a two-year contract, one he wanted to agree on, according to his agent.
The still available “Joey-Bats”, was recently turned down by the Baltimore Orioles for his attitude on and off the field. Baltimore general manager Dan Duquette told a Toronto-based radio station, “Our fans don’t like Jose Bautista, with good reason.”
Trading a starting pitcher (hint: One by the name of Clay Buchholz), would free up $13.5 million in Boston’s budget. This could be used to rekindle another Dominican to play DH, and/or in the field. Buchholz is a free-agent in 2018, and has been a depreciating asset since his big year in 2013. The Red Sox should also look to trade starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz, due to his recent trade-stock rise.
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A diminished Bautista is still better than your average big-leaguer, so any additional power will help. Bautista also has experience at third base, adding some veteran insurance to the position if Pablo Sandoval decides to continue his seemingly continuous slump. Brock Holt is currently second on the depth chart.
The Chris Sale deal created a sense of modality, in regards to the Red Sox starting pitching rotation, but I am still not convinced that the Sox current lineup will remain the same heading into Opening Day. The Red Sox are gamblers, and adding Bautista would increase depth in the lineup.
Moving Buchholz at this point seems imminent, but the Red Sox should aim to trade pitching for talented prospects. Letting Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech walk away was difficult for some of us to stomach. Continued development within the farm-system will add to a staff that features highly regarded prospect, Sam Travis. Travis’ major league readiness is the cause of Boston’s lack of long-term commitment to Edwin Encarnacion.
Bautista’s offense (and defense) would help young players like Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley Jr, take time off from the lineup. The Red Sox-and their more than supporting cast-might just be the spark that Bautista needs.
Jose wants to win, and his increasing age and decreasing numbers, leads us to believe he wouldn’t mind taking a backseat. Whether he plays designated hitter, in the outfield, or in the infield, Joey-Bats can be “temporary leverage” as part of an obvious 2017 World Series run. The Red Sox just have to act quick.