Blue Jays: Edwin Encarnacion says Jose Bautista can still play

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 19: Jose Bautista (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 19: Jose Bautista (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

Edwin Encarnacion, former Blue Jays masher, and current Cleveland Indian, recently spoke with Jose Bautista, telling reporters that he believes that Joey Bats can still contribute to a major league team.

According to Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith, Edwin Encarnacion recently spoke with Jose Bautista. Nicholson-Smith tweets that Bautista told Edwin that he’s still working out and still wants to play. He further notes that Encarnacion told reporters that Bautista should be getting more offers.

It’s not surprising that Encarnacion is sticking up for his old slugging partner. The two were part of a juggernaut offense that led the Jays to two straight ALCS appearance, growing close along the way. Unfortunately, Jose Bautista has not found his way onto a major league roster, allegedly holding out for a major league deal.

Last year’s numbers don’t help his cause, though. In 157 games last year for the Jays, he slashed an ugly .203/.308/.366 with 23 home runs and 65 RBI, striking out 170 times in 587 total ABs. He was a defensive liability, putting up a -1.4 dWAR, playing primarily in right field.

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Despite healthy production, the league has changed. Pure sluggers don’t have the same market they used to. While the big flies are exciting and game-changing, teams are shifting towards small ball, giving the big money to those who can hit for average and get on base with consistency.

Bautista does not seem as attractive as he once used to. He strikes out a lot and while he walks a ton, is defensively limited and looked lost at the dish last year.

That being said, it’s hard to believe Joey Bats hasn’t found his way onto a major league roster. He’s a veteran presence that could certainly help a young, rebuilding team. Aside from brief talk about him reuniting with former Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos in Atlanta earlier this winter, we’ve heard nothing about a possible deal. Encarnacion says that “he doesn’t deserve that”.

It’s not looking good for Bautista. If he was willing to accept a minor league deal, the conversation would be much different, but since he’s holding out for a major league roster spot, it’s difficult to see him appearing in the bigs again.

Next: Blue Jays: Josh Donaldson to the 10 Day DL

Regardless, we’ll continue to monitor the situation and see what the future holds for the former Blue Jays fan favourite.