Have The Seeds For A Jose Bautista Trade Been Planted?

by Brandon Jopko | Posted on Saturday, August 3rd, 2013
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Jose Bautista

With the recent rumours from Danny Knobler of CBS Sports regarding the Texas Rangers interest in either Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion, one has to wonder if the Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos would entertain a trade this offseason for one of his premier players.

Surely this kind of deal would change the entire core of Toronto’s roster. In Bautista, gone would be Toronto’s best leader in recent memory whose emergence as one of MLB’s fierce power hitters helped get Toronto fans pushing for a winner once again. In moving Encarnacion, Anthopoulos without a doubt would be dealing his best, most productive hitter the last one and a half years, leading the club in OPS in both 2012 & 2013 so far – a surprising notion when you consider how he was designated just a few years ago. Personally, I see a deal for Encarnacion materializing at a much lower probability than I do for Bautista.

Now Bautista is signed through 2015 with an option for 2016 so he can be under team control for another three seasons. So besides the haul they would receive, why would the Blue Jays even consider trading him?

Concerns were raised this past week by Sportsnet Blue Jays Analyst Gregg Zaun who questioned Bautista’s leadership or lack there of. (audio here)

[quote]“It is frustrating to watch sometimes because I was hoping that he (Bautista) would assume more of a leadership role on the ball club and I mean not just on the field but in the clubhouse. He’s a very intelligent, classy guy, and his displays on the field (arguing balls and strikes), they’re just getting old in my opinion. You don’t take him seriously anymore because they happen so often.” Zaun continued, “he’s not getting anywhere by bitching about calls, so why not try not bitching, and why not try not demonstrating out on the field and embarrassing the umpires. I love Jose to death, and I want him to be more than just a great player on the field, I want him to be the guy that everybody looks to and when he opens his mouth in the clubhouse, everybody shuts up, and they’re like ‘Wow’, it’s almost like God has spoken.”[/quote]

Even Blue Jays radio commentators Jerry Howarth and Jack Morris have stated that some of his antics are getting to be unprofessional where he lets a bad call upset him, which takes him out of the at-bat, and even ejected from the game. He has to be able to exert greater self-control and discipline because the team needs him in games, and who knows in the end if his reputation for arguing calls with umpires is expanding the zone when he’s in the batter’s box.

[quote]“I’ve been trying to control myself as much as I can.” Bautista said. “But it is something that I’m not as good at as other players. I struggle with it. I play with a lot of heart and emotion and I try to always come through for us. When I don’t, it upsets me. If I fail on my own, it upsets me and if I feel like some opportunities are being taken away from me, it upsets me even more.”[/quote]

Off the top of my head, teams like the Rangers, Cardinals, Pirates and Mets seem like clubs that would match up well who have needs to fill, or upgrades to make in the outfield for 2014. No doubt a player of Bautista’s ilk would fit nicely in the middle of their lineup as he would in anyone’s lineup.

Of course, DrunkJaysFans quite reasonably asserts that other teams should just stop asking Toronto about these two players because a trade is just not happening. The team has invested just too much with its sluggers and given the emotional intensity Bautista has, it shows he cares and wants to win in this city. And I can live most happily with that. With the current core in place, 2014 gives the Jays another chance to try and turn their playoff draught around.

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Brandon Jopko
About the Author

Senior Writer for Baseball Hot Corner and die-hard Blue Jays fan longing for another chance to experience his team in playoff glory. You can visit his blog at pumpedupjays.com or follow him on Twitter @pumpedupjays

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