Jose Bautista’s future with the Blue Jays has been up in the air since Spring Training, when reports of an asking price north of $150MM emerged, but the right fielder tells Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci that his preference is to remain in Toronto. “I love the city. I’d be stupid to leave,” said Bautista. While that comment will garner plenty of attention, it’s hardly uncommon for stars to voice a preference to remain with the club with which they’ve broken out. Bautista implied that the ball is in the court of first-year president of baseball operations Mark Shapiro and first-year GM Ross Atkins. “I will explore every single option, whether it happens or not with the new regime, to continue to try to stay here,” he added. “That being said, I think teams utilize that a lot against players, [seeking] a discount or bargain price, and I think that’s extremely unfair, especially to have your biggest contributors on the field and try to take advantage of the fact that they like it there and negotiate a tougher deal.” Despite today’s comments, it seems difficult to envision Bautista significantly dropping his asking price — especially when he’s again on pace to top 30 homers.
More from the AL East…
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post points out that if the Yankees want to option right-hander Michael Pineda to the minors in an effort to get the struggling 26-year-old back on track, their window to do so is closing. Pineda, Sherman notes, will reach five full years of MLB service time on June 14, at which point he will have earned the right to refuse a minor league assignment. Cashman tells Sherman that Pineda will make his next start on Thursday (in Detroit), and the club will have further discussions about him following that outing. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild cryptically tells Sherman that he’s aware of what Pineda’s problem is but is electing not to disclose the issue to the media.
- Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins spoke to reporters tonight about his club’s acquisition of Jason Grilli (video link via Sportsnet.ca). Atkins said that he’s been on the lookout for bullpen help since the day he arrived in Toronto, and Grilli’s penchant for missing bats made him an attractive option. “There’s a lot that we like about Jason and how he complements this team,” said Atkins. “The first thing that comes to mind is experience. He’s been on winning teams, [in] very high-leverage situations and gets a ton of swing-and-miss — has gotten a lot of swing-and-miss throughout his career.” Atkins expected Grilli to join the club on Wednesday.
- As Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets, Rays right-hander Brad Boxberger left tonight’s game with a strained muscle in his left side. Following the game, manager Kevin Cash told the media that the injury was “obviously not good,” and Topkin tweets that the sense in the clubhouse is that Boxberger is headed back to the disabled list. Further evaluation will be required tomorrow, he notes, but another absence for the Rays’ presumed 2016 closer appears to be a strong possibility.