Baltimore Orioles: Orioles and Jose Bautista were in contact
Even though Jose Bautista is close to an agreement with the Toronto Blue Jays, the Baltimore Orioles were in contact with Bautista’s agent following the Winter Meetings.
Last month the Baltimore Orioles and Jose Bautista made headlines when Vice President Dan Duquette didn’t want to sign Bautista because he was a “villain in Baltimore”.
Last night, the Toronto Blue Jays announced they were closing in on an agreement with Bautista. But the Orioles have also been in contact with the free agent slugger.
The degree of the Orioles interest in Bautista is questionable; last month Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported the interest was nonexistent. However, the Orioles are still looking for outfield help, even after acquiring Seth Smith from the Seattle Mariners.
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The negotiations with Mark Trumbo aren’t going anywhere, and the team is ready to move on and find purchase another big bat. While Bautista would more than fill the needs of the Orioles, he comes with a bigger price tag.
Because of the qualifying offer, the Orioles would have to give up a first round draft pick for Bautista, which means it would put a dent in the Orioles plans of rebuilding their farm system in June. However, the Orioles could counter by saying they’re in a win-now position.
Zach Britton, Manny Machado, Adam Jones and Chris TIllman have two years or fewer on their contract, meaning the window to win a championship is closing. If the Orioles were able to scoop Bautista away from the Blue Jays, he would keep their contention hopes alive.
It’s worth mentioning that Bautista had a terrible 2016 season, which is why his market was very limited. But even at his worst, Bautista is still the best outfield option available. He could join left-handed hitters Smith and Hyun Soo Kim, and be a more viable DH option than Trey Mancini.
Next: Why the Orioles should look beyond Machado
While the chances of signing Bautista are slim, the options are still there. Bautista would be the perfect fit for the Orioles. But what would ultimately stop the team from adding his bat is the huge price tag attached to it.