Toronto Blue Jays free agent outfielder Jose Bautista is officially available to all 30 teams and, in what may be his final shot at the open market, he’s willing to be flexible. According to agent, at least.
Jon Heyman of Fanrag Sports also reported on Bautista and his agent earlier Wednesday, with Alou steering the narrative towards Bautista’s alignment with Toronto and their fans.
“He loves the city, loves the fans,” Alou told Heyman. “I didn’t realize how much he loves it there. And he really feels he has unfinished business.”
Bautista and his representation also met with an executive from the Boston Red Sox for “a long time” in the hotel lobby, as Heyman reported.
While the legitimacy of these reports should in no way be questioned, the source that the information is coming from should be considered. At this time of year, MLB player agents are a common driver of the narratives surrounding their players. Sometimes this takes place subtly or behind the curtain. Other times, it’s more out in the open like in this situation.
Bautista’s willingness to play different positions is welcome news to teams, but given the decline of his defensive value over the past few seasons, his best fit on the field might be at first base if the transition were to go smoothly. Otherwise, the designated hitter role could best serve Bautista and his 2017 club.
The 36-year-old made 11 starts at first base for the Blue Jays in 2014 and has 345 career starts at third base, but has barely seen that position since the 2011 season.