Former Blue Jay Jose Bautista might be on route to his third team this season if the Mets and Phillies can work out a trade, as he was claimed on waivers.
With just few days left before the August trade deadline, the Blue Jays are hoping to make a couple last minute trades before time has expired. If Josh Donaldson can prove himself healthy enough in time he’ll be one candidate, as are both Curtis Granderson and Marco Estrada, although the latter is going to be difficult to move now.
The Blue Jays aren’t the only team still doing some dealing in August, and one of their former stars is the subject of today’s news on the waiver wire. According to several sources including Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic, the Philadelphia Phillies have put a claim in on Jose Bautista of the New York Mets. The former Toronto star started his season without a contract, made a stop in Atlanta, and was eventually picked up by the Mets. If the two sides are able to work out a deal in advance of their deadline it would be Bautista’s third team this season.
While the 37 year old isn’t what he used to be, he could still be a positive contributor for the Phillies as they pursue a spot in the postseason during the stretch run. The playoff races in the National League are a lot tighter than most of what we see in the AL this season, so a small boost could make a big difference.
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On the season Bautista is slashing .199/.340/.368 with 11 home runs and 42 RBI in 277 at bats. The batting average is pretty ugly obviously, but he’s still taking walks at a very nice rate, and has been heating up at the plate more recently after a really rough start to August.
He still offers versatility off the bench of as a platoon player with the ability to play both outfield corners, and also at third and first base. While he’s been far from the feared slugger he was during his prime, he’s still been worth 1.2 bWAR this season, and has shown enough to attract the Phillies interest on some level.
For his career “Joey Bats” has hit 342 home runs, 969 RBI, and is the owner of one of the most iconic home runs in franchise history. He was a 6x All-Star, a 4x Silver Slugger Award winner, received MVP votes in four seasons, and twice lead baseball in home runs. Not bad for a guy who didn’t become a full-time starter until he was almost 29 years old.
While it’s tough to watch a beloved veteran of the Blue Jays in another uniform, I think the vast majority of fans wish him well this season, and would be happy to see him get another shot at postseason baseball. He twice made it as far as the ALCS with the Blue Jays, and I’m certain that experience has made him even more hungry for a championship ring.
Whether or not the Phillies can be serious contenders for a championship this season remains to be seen, but they’re at least in a position to have a shot at taking part in the dance. They’re currently 3.0 games back of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East, and just two games back of the second Wild Card spot, so they’re in the hunt.
The Phillies are also arguably arriving a year ahead of time, so a low-cost upgrade for a player like Bautista makes a ton of sense for the surging young team. Here’s hoping the trade goes through and if we can’t watch the Blue Jays play some postseason baseball, maybe we can cheer for an old friend instead.