As the Toronto Blue Jays consider which way they’ll go at the MLB trade deadline, here are the five top landing spots for Jose Bautista.
After a slow start this season, the Toronto Blue Jays sniffed .500 off and on for a time. But they are still in last place in the AL East, and at best on the fringes of contention for a wild card spot.
Whether they are buyers or sellers over the next few weeks, the Blue Jays should be looking to move Jose Bautista. He is in the final fully guaranteed year of his contract, with options for 2018 ($17 million) and 2019 ($20 million), and at age-36 any further diminished returns will make him quite expensive.
Like many of his teammates, Bautista struggled in April (.178 with one home run). But he rebounded solidly in May, with nine home runs and a 1.055 OPS, before falling off again in June (.638 OPS, four home runs). If the every other month trend holds, July should be a good month for “Joey Bats.”
If the Blue Jays move toward getting rid of Bautista in a trade, here are five potential landing spots for him.
Note: All stats are entering action on Thursday July 6, except where noted.
5. Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers are clinging to a lead in NL Central, as the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals try to find their way. Staying atop the division, and in the mix for a playoff spot, may require some calculated short-term moves.
At first blush, as a National League team with no DH spot available outside of interleague play, Milwaukee looks like a poor fit for Bautista. But he offers some position flexibility, with experience in all four corner outfield and infield spots. That would serve as protection for any ongoing injury concerns (Ryan Braun), or potential downturns in production (Travis Shaw, Eric Thames, Domingo Santana) for the Brewers at those spots.
The Brewers should not, and should not have to, part with a top prospect to get Bautista. That could put him on their radar, if only to add a power bat to the bench down the stretch.