Trade Rumors

Phillies have ‘checked in’ on Jose Bautista, per report



The Phillies are reportedly interested in Mets slugger Jose Bautista. (slgckgc/Wikimedia Commons)

This evening’s Philadelphia Phillies-Boston Red Sox game will be the final time that Gabe Kapler’s squad takes the field before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. When the two teams take the field at Fenway Park tomorrow, the trade deadline will have passed and general manager Matt Klentak’s front-office will be limited to either making upgrades through the waiver process or internally.

The one trade that the Phillies have made thus far has been a move with their division rivals, the New York Mets, that allowed them to acquire infielder Asdrubal Cabrera this past Friday. However, even though the two teams hadn’t previously made a trade since July of 2001, it doesn’t appear they are opposed to working together on a second deal.

Though there’s no indication that talks have gained any traction, Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports reported Monday that the Phillies have inquired on  Mets RHP Zach Wheeler. Additionally, Heyman adds that the Phillies have done the same for veteran slugger Jose Bautista:

One of the most dominant power hitters of his generation, Bautista entered Monday evening slashing .216/.360/.407 with eight home runs and 29 RBIs. At 37, he clearly isn’t the same player that made six All-Star teams while slugging home runs with the Toronto Blue Jays. Still, after a brief, unsuccessful stint with the Atlanta Braves at the beginning of the season, Bautista has found life while playing for the lifeless Mets. When you add in that he can play both third base and right field, it makes sense that the Phillies would be interested in Bautista.

While options like Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles or Andrew McCutchen of the San Francisco Giants would likely push Nick Williams to the bench on a consistent basis, Bautista likely wouldn’t do that. Bautista likely would see some starts in right field, but Williams would probably continue to get the bulk of starts in right field. Bautista, in addition to adding another option in right field, could also serve in a Matt Stairs like role in important games down the stretch and potentially into the postseason. Even at this advanced stage of his career, Bautista has 339 career round-trippers on his resume, so he could provide some pop off the bench.

The Mets may not want to give up Bautista for a warm body, but it’s difficult to imagine them netting more than that for Bautista, whose future beyond 2018 is uncertain. In many ways, the Mets are in a similar position to that of the Phillies with Jeff Francoeur in 2015. There’s a market for Bautista, but not one where teams are willing to give up anything of consequence. If Bautista isn’t traded before the non-waiver trade deadline, he would seem to be a candidate to be moved in a waiver trade in August.

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