The New York Mets have reportedly shown interest in Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista as a possible replacement for Yoenis Cespedes if he decides to part ways with the organization. The Mets have offered Cespedes a qualifying offer of one year, $17.2 million, which he is of course expected to turn down. Since the Mets chances of shelling out the $100 million plus it will likely take to keep Cespedes in New York is low, turning their attention to Bautista makes sense.
He wants to stay in Toronto, but Toronto does not want to pay the 36-year-old Bautista what it will take to keep him since he’s at the tail end of his career. This makes him an attractive acquisition for the Mets, who would be able to pay him significantly less than Cespedes due to Bautista’s age and numbers, which were slightly below those of Cespedes.
In 116 games this season, Bautista hit 22 home runs, less than Cespedes’ 31, as well as playing in his fewest amount of games since the 2012 season and his worst rate-based numbers since 2009. While Bautista has slowed down, he is still a high-power right hand hitter who can hit upwards of 25 to 30 home runs, and it’s not like the Mets have any other choices if and when Cespedes signs with another team.
Their pitching staff can only be so dominant, and needs at least once impact bat in the lineup that can give them run support. That was Cespedes’ job for 2016, and Bautista would be able to provide similar but probably not better numbers given the five-year age gap between the two. However, I don’t think that Sandy Alderson will bring Cespedes in. Obviously, the fact that they’ve shown interest in him means that they have doubts that Cespedes will return, but it’s unlikely that the Mets think they’ll find the answer in a 36-year-old slugger who could hit a sharp decline at any point.
The crosstown New York Yankees have proven all too well that signing aging sluggers doesn’t always work, and signing Bautista would be a huge risk that I don’t think the Mets need to take. Trust the pitching staff to keep you in games next season, and maybe there’s a player in the farm system or someone currently up with the big club that will pick up the slack left behind by a Cespedes departure.null