MLB Rumors: Baltimore Orioles Refuse To Sign Jose Bautista Because Their Fans Don’t Like Him
The Baltimore Orioles have spent the first month of the offseason in search of some help in the outfield. The team has been connected to names such as Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, and Michael Saunders as general manager Dan Duquette attempts to find someone to flank Adam Jones in right field next season.
One available outfielder/designated hitter that won’t be joining the Orioles is former Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista. According to Blue Jays radio play-by-play man Mike Wilner, Bautista’s agent contacted Baltimore this offseason about possibly working out a deal and Duquette gave him a brutally honest answer.
— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) December 7, 2016
While there’s something to be said for respecting the opinion of your fan base, it’s also a slippery slope to head down when you let the fans’ opinion change how you run your organization. If the Orioles weren’t seriously considering Bautista as an option based on the fact that he’s 36-years-old and struggled in 2016, then that’s one thing, but when Duquette says it’s because the fans simply don’t like him, then that’s a whole other issue.
The fans’ hatred for Bautista likely stems from the success he’s had against them over the last three seasons. In that time period, Jose is hitting.373 with a.500 OBP, six home runs, and 20 RBIs 51 at-bats against the Orioles. For his career, Bautista is hitting 0.249 with a 0.366 OBP, 28 home runs, and 87 RBIs against the organization.
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) December 7, 2016
Bautista only appeared in 116 games last season as struggled with injuries. While he did post a putrid 0.234 batting average, Jose still had a respectable 0.366 OBP, slugged 22 home runs, and drove in 69 runs. His 103-to-87 strikeout-to-walk ratio also shows that he still has a good understanding of the strike zone and will take his walks which is why the Blue Jays had him batting lead-off for much of the season.
With the Orioles off the board, Jose Bautista doesn’t really have a ton of options remaining. There really have only been three other teams connected to Bautista: the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tampa Bay Rays, and Toronto Blue Jays.
blue jays met with jose bautista today, setting up intriguing possibility of a return – https://t.co/nzdByI3YvW
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 7, 2016
The Dodgers have become a left-handed heavy lineup, and Bautista would help balance it out a little bit. Of the teams on the list, he may have the most interest in joining Los Angeles as he still has a desire to play the outfield and would likely only be a designated hitter with the American League clubs.
— Derek (Red Deer) (@Derek_RedDeer) December 7, 2016
While Tampa Bay may have interest in Jose, signing him doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Bautista likely isn’t going to come at a reduced price, and the Rays aren’t exactly loaded with money. The team also isn’t considered to be a playoff contender which would make signing an aging player like Bautista more than a bit curious.
For Bautista to find everything he’s looking for, he may have to end up returning to Toronto. He’s comfortable with the team, the organization, and the city and has had his best years with the Blue Jays. Toronto also has a need for some thump from the middle of the order with Edwin Encarnacion likely to move on. If there’s one thing Bautista can still do effectively, it’s hit home runs.
[Featured Image by Jason Miller/Getty Images]