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Storylines: Joey Bautista having active discussions with Blue Jays

Jose Bautista and the Blue Jays are talking and may be paving the way for him to return to them for one more season. That and all the other news and notes from around baseball on Thursday...

Top Storylines:

- The Toronto Blue Jays appear to be considering a change in their offseason plans.  It was reported earlier they had little interest in bringing back Jose Bautista but now appear to be more open to the idea as they are having active discussions with the veteran per Jon Morosi of MLB Network.  The veteran missed a lot of games last season due to foot and knee injuries and batted only .234/.366/.452 in 2016 but did swat 22 home runs in the limited amount of games he played.  Despite his injuries, he was still a force at the plate.  The Blue Jays tendered him a qualifying offer in the offseason and his market has been extremely limited.  The fact that he is battling injuries and on the wrong side of 30 has significantly hurt his value and pretty much made getting a long-term deal all but impossible.  The Blue Jays bringing him back would make him the lone free agent they would retain in the offseason as Brett Cecil and Edwin Encarnacion have already signed elsewhere and it remains very unlikely Michael Saunders will return to Toronto.  Throughout the course of Bautista’s career in Toronto he has hit .261/.382/.528 with 265 home runs in 3777 at-bats along with 701 RBIs.  The Blue Jays most likely would only resign him on a one-year deal. 

Other Storylines:

- The Baltimore Orioles have reportedly engaged in conversations with slugger Pedro Alvarez per Rich Kubatko MASN Sports.  The Orioles inked the slugger to a one-year deal last year after he was non-tendered by the Pittsburgh Pirates.  The Orioles seem likely to want him to form a platoon at first base/designated hitter with Trey Mancini.

- The Orioles are also showing interest in dealing right-handed reliever Brad Brach per Kubatko.  Brach was a huge part of the Orioles bullpen in 2015 and is under control for two more seasons before free agency.  What they would seek in return for Brach is unclear.

- Texas Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels says he is interested in exploring extensions with both right-hander Yu Darvish and catcher Jonathan Lucroy prior to Opening Day per the Dallas Morning News.  Both are in their final year before free agency and are key pieces to the Rangers.  Losing them to free agency would be significant losses so trying to lock them up before they hit the open market makes sense.


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