AL East Links: Bautista, Francona, Wakefield, Phelps

The latest from the AL East, as Derek Jeter deflects Hank Steinbrenner's criticism…

  •'s Jayson Stark argues quite convincingly that Jose Bautista is the face of the Blue Jays. Toronto manager John Farrell compared Bautista to Jayson Werth, another late bloomer who signed a big contract this offseason.
  • The Red Sox intend to pick up Terry Francona's two-year option at the end of the year, according to Jon Heyman of (on Twitter). Francona says he doesn't know how the Red Sox intend to approach the option, which is worth a total of $9MM.
  • John Tomase of the Boston Herald re-imagines the 1988 draft and suggests Tim Wakefield, then a first base prospect with some power, would have been worthy of a seventh overall selection. The Pirates drafted the future Red Sox knuckleballer in the eighth round. 
  • Former Blue Jays and Yankees DH Josh Phelps signed with the Italian Baseball League team Telemarket Rimini according to The 32-year-old former top prospect hit 64 homers in the majors, including 20 for the 2003 Blue Jays.
  •'s Keith Law includes Blue Jays prospect Brett Lawrie on his list of young players who are ready for the majors in one respect, but who need development in other areas. Lawrie's bat is nearly ready, but the Blue Jays need to figure out his future position.

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