Baltimore Orioles rumors have the team working to sign free agent outfielder Jose Bautista. The Orioles have been in contact with Bautista since the Winter meetings, but it has been assumed that the interest had cooled off after a while. A report by MLB analyst Jon Morosi has placed some new light on the situation, stating that the franchise has indeed kept in contact with the All-Star outfielder.
This could be a big deal for the Orioles and Bautista because on paper, it is a really good match. The Orioles are trying to find some offense during an off-season that could see the team lose Mark Trumbo to free agency. As for Bautista, the free agent market hasn’t been as kind as he may have hoped, leaving very few options left that will pay him the type of salary he covets.
Meanwhile, there is some additional news that will certainly affect how these Baltimore Orioles rumors play out. Another report by MLB analyst Jesse Sanchez states that the Toronto Blue Jays are now pushing hard to get Jose Bautista to re-sign with the club. Sanchez is even stating that the Blue Jays have emerged as the “favorites” to land him in free agency. That would be huge for a team that already lost Edwin Encarnacion to the Cleveland Indians.
Last season, Bautista played in only 116 games for the Blue Jays. He had 22 home runs, 69 RBIs, 68 runs scored, and a 0.234 batting average. They were some of the worst numbers he has had since coming to Toronto from the Pittsburgh Pirates, and it caused the interest level of other franchises to go way down. When he made it known that he was looking for a long-term contract paying him more than $20 million a season, the interest level appeared to cool off even further. Now, Bautista has been linked to a variety of one-year deals for the 2017 MLB season.
In recent days, the Cleveland Indians have also been linked to Jose Bautista, as he could be a great addition to a lineup that also added Edwin Encarnacion this off-season. Improving the offense with two power hitters in the middle of the lineup could certainly make the Indians the favorites to repeat as American League champions. There weren’t any confirmations of an offer coming from Cleveland, though, so it could have simply been a lot of conjecture about how much the team would like to add another hitter. Now, Cleveland may have been outbid anyway.
If these latest Baltimore Orioles rumors are true, then the team may have very little time to get a deal done with Bautista. It’s possible that the front office was just checking in to see if his “asking price” had come down during free agency, or if he is still wanting to receive a long-term deal in order to leave Canada. It could also come out later that negotiations have been ongoing, as that might help explain why Bautista has gone so long without signing on with any team. As it looks now, Toronto may swoop in at the last moment and re-sign him to a cheaper deal.
The Toronto Blue Jays already extended a qualifying offer to Jose Bautista that he turned down. This would have been worth roughly $17.2 million for the 2017 MLB season. It also meant that any team offering Bautista a contract would be sacrificing a draft pick to do it. It may have created a situation where other organizations shied away from giving Bautista a long-term deal. While the Baltimore Orioles have continued to show interest, the team will have to act quickly if they really want to sign him, as it appears that he could simply wind up in Toronto again.
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