SportsNet Canada reported yesterday that the Toronto Blue Jays could be open to trading any one of a number of players on their current major league roster, to include right-fielder Jose Bautista. Guess who's in the market for a right-fielder? You guessed it, the New York Mets.
Bautista is an interesting offseason option for the Mets' front office. He remains under contract for the next three seasons, set to make $14 million in both 2014 and 2015, and finally has a team option for the same in 2016. The front office would probably say that's a lot of money to allocate to an outfielder who will be thirty-three when he arrives for spring training next year. To be honest they may be right, but having the option to make only a two year commitment should things go south, should be appealing to Alderson and Co.
If a trade were to go down, Bautista would instantly become the team's best offensive outfielder and arguably the best bat on the roster. That said, he does have injury concerns, having played only 118 games last season and just 92 the year before that. If he did make it through a full season, he would threaten to hit forty home runs and drive in well over one hundred runs. The Mets haven't seen that type of production from an outfielder since Carlos Beltran's 2006 campaign.
The other perk to Bautista over some other potential outfield trade options (think CarGo or Stanton) is the Mets would have to part with much less to get him. The two teams also have a history together (RA Dickey/Travis d'Arnaud). Plus, JP Riccardi has worked within the Blue Jays system.
So sure, Baustista represents a considerable risk for the Mets. He may come in and struggle to stay on the field just like the aforementioned Beltran did, but he would be a short term risk. If things go well, the Mets could pick up the option year on his contract. If they don't, the Mets can walk away or look to trade a power hitting outfielder in the last year of the deal (Alderson is good at this).
On the surface I like the idea. I think its a good fit for the Mets provided they don't have to give up too too much in the trade. I think he allows the team to make a quality addition who will help the team now, but also won't tie up payroll very long. I think that would be ideal, but its still early and other options could come available as the winter moves on.
That's my two cents. What do you think? Is Bautista a viable option for the Mets or would you prefer they look elsewhere?
Side Note: Bautista follows me on Twitter (no clue why), you should too at @RobPatterson83.