Toronto Blue Jays News

As markets tilt towards Blue Jays, Jose Bautista re-emerging

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Oct 14, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19) runs the bases after hitting a home run against the Texas Rangers in game five of the ALDS at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 14, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19) runs the bases after hitting a home run against the Texas Rangers in game five of the ALDS at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Toronto Blue Jays have reportedly rekindled talks with Jose Bautista

As the market continues to shift at the MLB winter meetings, more often than not, it’s benefiting the Blue Jays

That is, if the long game is to sign one of Dexter Fowler, Edwin Encarnacion, or even Jose Bautista.

Boston’s blockbuster addition of Chris Sale on Tuesday leaves the Blue Jays with an uphill climb in the AL East, of course, but Toronto was never in the conversation for Sale. When it comes to their perceived targets, however, the tables continue to tilt in the right direction.

Fowler’s market continues to shrink in width, with the Jays and Cardinals believed to be his most serious bidders. Edwin Encarnacion has been met with a very underwhelming market, and the signings of Carlos Beltran and Mitch Moreland are examples of potential suitors dropping out of contention with smaller, more affordable deals.

Beyond those two names, however, is Jose Bautista, who reportedly met with the Blue Jays on Tuesday amid renewed interest.

This can be commonplace at the winter meetings, of course, and could fall anywhere on the spectrum of interest. The contact remains, however, and Bautista’s specific market could make this a very comfortable backup plan to Fowler as it would allow the Jays to spend the net difference elsewhere on the roster.

Among the many factors working against Bautista are his age, his uncertain position (many teams view him as a DH), health, and a group of teams that haven’t exactly grown to love the passionate star throughout his time in Toronto.

The most important part of this equation, however, is the draft pick attached to Bautista from his declined qualifying offer. That detail impacts his market the most in terms of the Blue Jays, and with the report from Nick Cafardo that Bautista is seeking a two-year deal, it becomes even more magnified.

Players of Fowler’s calibre, who are expected to provide at least four valuable seasons with their contract, are not as difficult to surrender a draft choice for. Looking at Bautista, however, it’s difficult for a team to surrender a first-round pick for what may be just two seasons of a DH. Of course, Toronto would lose the opportunity to gain that pick by re-signing Bautista, but with another pick expected to come from Encarnacion if and when he signs elsewhere, it is not as prohibitive.

Next: Examining the hypothetical market for Smoak

Toronto’s current roster, while holding a logjam at first base that makes Encarnacion a difficult reunion, may still have room for a part-time outfielder like Bautista if they believe he can still handle the role sparingly. He and Steve Pearce could combine in one corner outfield spot while Toronto’s depth mixes in occasionally.

Fowler remains the more highly-regarded option, but the Blue Jays have shown little hesitation to move on quickly to backup options. It was never expected that Bautista would be that, but as we’re seeing, free agency cares little for fairness.

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