The Toronto Blue Jays could eventually be joined on the free agent hitting market by the Philadelphia Phillies, according to a report from Ken Rosenthal.
More specifically, the Phillies list of potential targets includes Jose Bautista, who has seen his market fall to the point where a one-year deal is now very possible. Rosenthal does go on to add, however, that the Phillies would still be hesitant to part with a draft pick as part of signing Bautista. Given that their first-round pick is protected, they would be forced to forfeit pick No. 45.
Michael Saunders, Brandon Moss, and Jay Bruce are among the other candidates that Rosenthal links to the Phillies, and given their vacancy in right field across from Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera — not to mention payroll flexibility — it’s possible that the Phillies overlap Toronto’s targeted market.
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According to a Tuesday report from Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star, the Blue Jays have not made Bautista an offer since the $17.2 million qualifying offer.
Instead, Bautista’s side has come to the same question that many Blue Jays fans have. Why hasn’t there been a move made to bring back the face of the franchise who’s value has hit an unexpected low?
“I have the same question, Jose has the same question,” Bautista’s agent Jay Alou told Griffin. “He, more than anybody, is a little confused on how things have gone. It’s clear that he loves the place. He absolutely wants to be there, as opposed to a lot of players that there’s hurdles being over there, going to Toronto, going through immigration, the (stadium) turf, all that. Jose really likes it. He likes everything about the city. He loves the fans.”
It is Alou’s interest to maximize his client’s appeal in the Toronto market, of course, but it appears the interest is there.
Along with the Blue Jays, however, many other teams are still not biting at Bautista’s current price point. If his free agency does stretch closer to the spring, teams will need to decide at which point, financially, they are willing to part with a top pick.
Sanchez changes representation
Blue Jays starter Aaron Sanchez will be represented by agent Scott Boras, according to a report from Hazel Mae on Tuesday.
This is a significant move for Sanchez’s future, as he’ll be arbitration eligible following the 2017 season and is first eligible for free agency following the 2020 season.
Boras, known for a high-profile client list, a bulldog persona, and some of the biggest contracts in Major League Baseball, is very familiar with the young, talented, on-the-verge type of star that Sanchez represents. Boras client Stephen Strasburg recently signed a seven-year, $175 million extension in Washington at age 27.
In the short term, this should mean very little outside of public perception and conversation. It does, however, shine a light on the long term value that Sanchez does hold deeper into his arbitration years.
Sanchez was previously represented by Legacy Agency and finished seventh in AL Cy Young voting last season, his first as an MLB starter.