So far this offseason has been dominated by rumors of Edwin Encarnacian, Chris Sale, and Andrew McCutchen. There has been surprisingly little talk about Jose Bautista, whose go ahead three run homer in the above video was one of the coolest moments of the 2015 MLB playoffs. You can feel the electricity coming from the stadium. At this point the Blue Jays' window was wide open. However, fourteen months later and all they have to show for it is two ALCS appearances. In terms of where the team was for most of the 2000s that isn't bad, but you can't help but think they may have missed out on their chance.
Not only has Toronto failed to re-sign Edwin or Bautista, they have already basically waved the white flag and signed their replacements in Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce. They are also rumored to be pursuing Dexter Fowler. That doesn't leave any place for their two former sluggers to play so the 2017 Jays will have to rely on their underrated starting pitching to take another step forward if they want to contend for the playoffs.
Back to Bautista who isn't being talked about much this winter. Why is that? Sure he isn't as young as Encarnacian or as talented as Sale, but surely there must be a market for a power hitting corner outfielder who is one year removed from a 40 homer season where he led the American League in walks. 2016 was a down year for the 36-year-old but if the demand isn't as high as Edwin's he could be had for a potential discount. This is especially the case for an AL team where he could transition into a full time DH role.
Bautista has never been one to hit for average (career .255) but last season he posted the second best walk rate of his career. That's a good sign for an aging player because it means that even if there's a dip in power and batting average he still has the ability to get on base. Ultimately it's going to come down to how many years he wants, and whether front offices think he can rebound after posting his lowest home run rate since before his 2010 breakout season. Bautista went into the year wanting a five year deal but if he settles for three could be a surprisingly underrated addition for whoever ends up with him.