Red Sox Pursued Jose Bautista Trade

The Red Sox "made multiple offers" for Jose Bautista during the Winter Meetings, reports Ken Rosenthal of  Boston "never got the sense that the Blue Jays were serious about a deal" and Rosenthal reports that several other clubs inquired about Bautista's availability as well.

One would think that the Sox would've had to pay a premium to extract Bautista from their division rivals, but needless to say, that trade would have completely altered the shape of the offseason.  Let's play alternate reality for a moment and explore how a Bautista deal would have affected Boston's two biggest winter moves…

  • The Adrian Gonzalez trade.  Rosenthal notes that the Red Sox were specifically looking for an outfielder (Carlos Beltran and Magglio Ordonez were also options), so a Bautista deal would've kept Kevin Youkilis at third base and left Boston looking for a big bat at first.  It's hard to see Theo Epstein, however, cleaning out his farm system for the sake of two trades, when Boston has the finances to simply sign a big-name free agent.  It's also possible the Jays would've wanted some of the prospects that the Sox sent to the Padres for Gonzalez.  That said, the Red Sox had been interested in Gonzalez for so long that they surely put him at a higher level of importance than acquiring Bautista.
  • The Carl Crawford signing.  Bautista's presence would've made Carl Crawford's signing unnecessary, unless the Red Sox were prepared to move J.D. Drew or just keep a $14MM player in a bench role.  If Crawford doesn't land in Boston, that has a domino effect on several other teams; for instance, if Crawford instead had signed with the Angels, then the club wouldn't have hade a need for Vernon Wells.

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