We all know that the Toronto Blue Jays have suffered a tremendous loss since the end of the 2016 season. Edwin Encarnacion has signed with Cleveland, Jose Bautista is keeping quiet, and the story goes on. As recent days have gone by, there seems to have been more conversation with regards to the veteran's future as spring training slowly nears. Now, we try and put pieces together with the hints of which have been provided through those in the know on Twitter and beyond.
Within the past week, it was reported that Bautista and the Toronto Blue Jays engaged in conversation about a one-year deal, as it seemed to be that nothing was happening elsewhere so quickly. This news came after his agent, Jay Alou, met with the organization's front office at the Winter Meetings in Washington, DC which was kept a secret until Hazel Mae of Sportsnet.ca spotted him leaving the conference at it's conclusion.
As for where things stand for the moment being, both sides have been silent since, though it seems other club's have made their interest known as the hours have passed. That being said, the latest to hop into this rather hot topic is Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and MLB Network as he reported earlier on Tuesday afternoon that the Philadelphia Phillies are targeting his services as they are just one of many potential suitors on a wide-range list of options.
In his replacement, the Blue Jays have brought in Steve Pearce on a two-year, $12.5 million deal, though they also showed interest in bringing back Canadian outfielder Michael Saunders and took a serious look at Brandon Moss, much like the Phillies who have done so in the recent past.
Another intriguing name who Toronto has taken a peek at would be New York Mets outfielder Jay Bruce who they continue to explore options for, after a three-team trade fell through during the 2015-16 offseason. The team made a serious run for Dexter Fowler earlier in the offseason, however, their offer was not within his $18 million price range and later ended up with the St. Louis Cardinals on a five-year deal worth $82.5 million, securing a hole as their everyday centerfielder.
As noted by Keegan Matheson of Sportsnet.ca, should the Phillies decide to go forward with such a transaction, the club would only be forced to forfeit the 45th overall pick given their first pick for the 2017 draft, eighth overall, remains protected. As noted by Rosenthal, Philadelphia is still reluctant to part with that pick, however, which makes them "a less likely option." At this time, the Phillies outfield consists of veteran Howie Kendrick, alongside Odubel Herrera, who was locked up in early December to a five-year deal worth $30.5 million.
Upgrading could very well help out the team looking on further ahead, and they have the flexibility within their payroll to do so, however, once again, there are other names in the running for the 36-year-old slugger which means nothing is happening tomorrow as we continue to await further discussion.
Bautista has spent the past nine seasons in the Toronto Blue Jays organization where he has hit .261/.382/.528 to go alongside 4586 plate appearances and 3777 at-bats. He has also recorded 265 home runs and 701 runs batted in after having played in a total of 1078 games played.
The organization has not done much to improve the club's quality, however, the few that have been done include the acquisition of right-handed pitcher Clay Buchholz from the Boston Red Sox, the signing of right-handed pitcher Pat Neshek as a free agent reliever and the contract extension of right-handed pitcher Jeremy Hellickson who accepted a qualifying offer worth $17.2 million to stay with the club for another season before hitting the free agent market.null