Saturday, December 17, 2016

Why Does Nobody Want Jose Bautista?

              One of the biggest names in free agency this offseason is Jose Bautista, formerly Toronto's superstar slugger. Bautista sought a deal worth more than $150 million before the 2016 season started and will probably want somewhere around that range money-wise. But the winter meetings have already passed and Bautista still doesn't have a new home. So what's the hold-up?

  1. Bautista Isn't The Most Likable Person In The World: Baltimore Orioles GM Dan Duquette made a comment a couple weeks ago about why he didn't pursue Jose Bautista. Duquette replied that "he [Bautista] is a villain in Baltimore" and "the fans didn't like him." Bautista isn't well-known for being the most friendly person on the diamond, as seen by his scuffle with Rougned Odor in recent memory. Bautista's been notorious for getting into shouting arguments with opposing pitchers over "bad" pitches. What team would want to take on his emotional baggage?
  2. His Age: Bautista just turned 36 years old in October, so his best years are behind him. There probably won't be a team that will be willing to offer a 36-year old slugger a four-year deal and pay him around $150 million.
  3. Bautista Is A Defensive Liability And Is Starting To Become A Liability At The Plate: Bautista saw his production from 2015 tail off, going from 40 homers and 108 RBIs in 2015 to 22 homers and 68 RBIs the year after. His ISO power fell from .285 to .217 and his BB/K rate fell from 1.04 in 2015 to .84 in 2016. Defensively, his arm strength is deteriorating and isn't as accurate as it once was. While his defensive value actually improved, it still doesn't leave Bautista as a reliable source of fielding.
  4. His Market: Considering that there's no Designated Hitter in the National League, Bautista going to any NL club is out of the question. Boston is looking for a DH, but one of the short-term variety. You know about Baltimore and Texas probably doesn't want Bautista's personality in the clubhouse, either. The Yankees have already spent big money on Aroldis Chapman and are looking to avert the luxury tax in the future. They also have a lot of young talent in their farm system that they'd like to develop. Throw in the fact that a team would lose a draft pick for signing Bautista and he looks less appealing to a team.
            So where will Jose Bautista end up? There's a good chance that Bautista will end up back in Toronto for less money than he asked for. He'll probably get a deal with less years on it as well. For a man who want a deal as grandiose as Bautista himself, selling himself high was nice, but not a realistic possibility. 

Photo Courtesy of Washington Post

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