Given his age (36 in October), defensive issues and dip in offensive production, Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista’s chances of landing the five-year deal he desires were already dropping before he landed on the disabled list Friday with a sprained toe, reports FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (video link). Further, some teams might not even see Bautista as the most appealing Blue Jay set to hit the free agent market this winter, per Rosenthal, who notes that designated hitter/first baseman Edwin Encarnacion is almost three years younger than Bautista and left fielder Michael Saunders, 29, leads all major league outfielders in OPS (.997).
Here are more rumblings from Rosenthal:
- The Cubs remain unlikely to deal catcher/outfielder Kyle Schwarber, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in early April and has been the subject of trade rumors. Chicago regards Schwarber as a top-caliber middle-of-the-order hitter whose woes against left-handed pitching will fade. The Cubs are also bullish on Schwarber’s makeup, says Rosenthal, and believe getting him back next season will be like adding a high-end free agent.
- The Dodgers, Mets and Yankees are clear fits for Cuban free agent Yulieski Gurriel, but the Giants are also possible suitors, according to Rosenthal. The 32-year-old second and third baseman might also be able to play left field, where San Francisco could soon have a need if Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco leave as free agents after the season.
- Having won 16 of 24 to rebound from a 17-28 start, the Astros have gone from prospective sellers to potential buyers. The club still sits 11 games out of first place in the AL West and five games from a Wild Card spot, but it could look to improve both its rotation and offense, Rosenthal reports.