Blue Jays: Could Jose Bautista come back as designated hitter?
On Sunday, Jose Bautista presumably played his last home game with the Toronto Blue Jays, however, could the slugger return at a discounted price and take over the designated hitter spot in 2018?
Jose Bautista has publicly said that he wishes to return to Toronto but the decision is out of his hands as the Blue Jays will undoubtedly turn down his $18 million mutual option for next season. The question is would Joey Bats sign a one-year deal in the $3-5 million neighborhood?
The Blue Jays could look to move Kendrys Morales who is owed $23 million over the next two seasons, insert Bautista into the DH spot and use the money saved from the Morales contract to better the team elsewhere.
Bautista could fill in at right field, third base and first base in a pinch when needed but be utilized primarily as the DH. He could then just focus on hitting and his body would not take the pounding of playing defence every day.
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The Blue Jays plan to compete in 2018 so why not have Joey Bats in the mix for one more ride as the 36-year old should be able to put up Morales like numbers in the DH slot. Morales is hitting .248 with 27 home runs in his first season north of the border.
This move still affords the Blue Jays the opportunity to become younger and more athletic in the outfield while relieving themselves of the financial burden attached to Morales.
Bautista should rebound from a disappointing 2017 campaign where he eclipsed the Blue Jays franchise record for strikeouts in a single season surpassing the former mark of 159 set by Jose Canseco and Kelly Johnson.
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The Jays and Bautista have 10 years of history with one another, neither camp has officially closed the door on a return with Joey Bats expressing interest to remain in Toronto. If the Jays can sign him for a bargain and move Morales, the move seems like a no-brainer and one the fans would welcome with open arms. So you’re telling me there’s a chance.