Blue Jays Positional Off-Season Overview Part 3: Right Field
Aug 16, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19) reacts after he strikes out during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Keep the comments coming. In part two I didn’t forget about Kevin Pillar. I just don’t see him in the mix next season. And I didn’t say Lind was going to be the left fielder. I just said he would be in the mix if they had to hide Melky at DH. The only way it would really work is if Lind was traded in a package to get a starter or second baseman. But I can’t go through every scenario for fear of beating you all to death with words. I actually said Gose would most likely be the answer but I looooves me a controversy. Anyway, on with part 3.
This one seems to be a lockdown for sure bet. Bautista has been the leader of the new wave of Blue Jays and become a superstar in our uniform. He plays hard. He hits hard. He represents the city well. The one sticking point would be his penchant to getting sidelined with little pain in the butt injuries. I don’t know if it goes in with the team-wide injury problem the team is trying to address but it is worth noting. Between 2006 and 2013 he played over 150 games just once. That is cause for concern and addresses the need for us to have a capable fourth outfielder. Thing is, with the dearth of outfielders we have and could possibly pick up in trades or free agency, would it be worth it to trade Bautista to fix the rotation? This will be the biggest question of the off-season.
Sierra could be that fourth outfielder but if he stepped up his defensive game he could be a major league regular. He is second to Gose in terms of outfield depth but his decent arm allows him to be considered for right field as opposed to Kevin Pillar. He improved his offense from last year when he had a taste of the majors but if Bautista is traded does he have what it takes to take over in right? Offensively he could be balanced out by the rest of the team but again it’s a matter of catching the ball too. Bautista plays Gold Glove defense and at this point I would use other trading chips to get a pitcher because the drop in production from a prime producing position would be too great.
If the Jays do decide to trade Bautista we would need someone to fill the blanks and why not Beltran? If we are looking at St. Louis and their abundance of starting pitching then it’s conceivable they trade for Bautista as a younger replacement for Beltran. This would leave Beltran without a home and his power might fit in well in Rogers Centre. He has been fairly durable the last few years and because his numbers aren’t off the charts he could be decently priced. He may not have the full production that Bautista would provide but to be off-set with better pitching it would be worth the gamble.
If Bautista is not in right field in 2014 I will truly be surprised. But Alex Anthopoulos has stated that there are truly no untouchable players and the contract the Bautista has is very team friendly. This contract alone will bring the suitors to the Blue Jays doorstep. If you can land a 1 or 2 starter for him and fill right field with a Beltran like player or another right fielder in a trade then you can never say never. I see the Jays holding on to Bautista but if they are out of it at the trade deadline in 2014….who knows?