The Baltimore Orioles’ aversion to signing Jose Bautista has been well-documented here, and elsewhere. Yet over the weekend there were reports that the Orioles had in fact been in contact with Bautista’s camp. Are the Orioles actually interested?
My view on this is well-documented. I think that Bautista’s history with some of the Orioles’ players is too much of an issue for them to be able to “welcome” him into the clubhouse as one of their own. Furthermore he’s 36 years old, and injury-prone. So with all of that being the case, I just don’t see him as a viable fit in Baltimore.
Up to this point, that appeared to be the case on the team’s side as well. It’s often tough to say when stories like this come about who put the rumor out there. It may well have been someone on Bautista’s side who started this “rumor” so as to generate interest for the free agent slugger. Or it could…have even been the Orioles.
Why would the Orioles do that? Well first off, I suppose it’s possible that there is some muted interest on the team’s side. You really never know. However keep one other thing in mind: Mark Trumbo is still out there on the free agent market.
Regardless of which team we’re talking about, does anyone out there actually think that Bautista would be a better bargain than Trumbo at this point? I don’t think that Trumbo brings the baggage Bautista does, and I think his potential for production is higher. Again, that’s an opinion on my part. You may disagree, and that’s okay.
But I wouldn’t put it past a team to claim to be flirting with another player (even one as potentially odious as Bautista) so as to pressure someone else into signing. Sometimes that’s the name of the game. The reason Trumbo is even on the Orioles at all is similar to that. They made the trade to get Trumbo in anticipation for the fact that Chris Davis might not have been back. Davis obviously saw that the Orioles had a contingency in place, and decided to sign. In some situations, that’s all it takes.
My personal opinion is that Bautista will stay in Toronto. Further reports have surfaced to that ends as well. Toronto is where he’s made his name, he’s a fan favorite, and he seems to fit in with the city and organization. Mind you, that’s also a fan base that throws open beers at players…