Jose Bautista, DH/RF
Dan Duquette was all over Bautista at the Winter Meetings, kindly letting him know that the Orioles were not interested because Baltimore fans simply do not like him. As the price keeps dropping lower and lower, there is a chance Orioles fans could learn to love the brash right fielder. If there is one manager in baseball capable of moving on from past disputes, it is Showalter.
Bautista is clearly in the downward arc of his career, but should be looking to come back with a vengeance in 2017 after struggling with injuries in 2016. Bautista has always fed off doubters and “haters” (perceived or real), and he has plenty to stoke his internal fire entering next season.
At no point last year did Bautista ever really look like the player who went to six straight All-Star Games. He will have a hard time matching the qualifying offer. It would not be surprising to see him settle for one year and $10-12 million at this point, if he even signs before Opening Day. Bautista grossly overestimated his value on the open market at the age of 36.
Bautista’s value will have to sink very low for the Orioles to grab him, especially with the draft pick still tied to his name. Duquette may be willing to walk back from his comments at some point, but Bautista will have to get a little more desperate and willing to take an extremely team-friendly offer.