Let’s take a look at a few recent notes out of the AL East:
- Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista still seems likely to depart in free agency, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag writes. While Toronto figures to have some level of interest, it probably won’t outbid the market for a player who has been the organization’s biggest star. While it’s never worth putting too much stock in postseason results, it may not help that he has just four hits and six walks in his 35 plate appearances in this year’s playoff action — though Bautista did enjoy a productive stretch to end the regular season.
- Fellow star Blue Jays slugger Edwin Enarnacion still seems most likely to head to the Red Sox this winter, Heyman suggests. While Boston has given some signals that it may not go big for a free agent bat, the team does appear to represent a good fit for a player who raked for most of the year. Other potential landing spots, per Heyman, include the Yankees and Rangers. For what it’s worth, Encarnacion’s overall postseason results have been quite good: he’s slashing .323/.400/.645 with three home runs and four walks against just three strikeouts.
- Devon Travis wasn’t able to carry on for the Blue Jays in the ALCS and won’t play again in 2016 due to a knee injury. He has continued to put up good numbers when healthy, but a variety of ailments have clouded his long-term outlook. Heyman does say that Toronto expects him to be ready for a full spring next year, but notes “there’s concern about his ability to stay healthy” within the organization.
- Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald examines the case of Red Sox lefty David Price, who never quite seemed to gain his footing in Boston and has continued to come up short in the postseason. Unlike Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kershaw, who has excelled this year after several notable disappointments in the playoffs, Price is still awaiting his time for redemption. Two general managers who employed Price in the past — Andrew Friedman and Alex Anthopoulos — discussed his situation, both suggesting that he has the competitive fire and track record to suggest he’s still a good bet to perform when the stakes are highest.
- While the Red Sox have several options behind the plate in 2017, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal questions whether the overall quality is sufficient. Sandy Leon’s hard-to-fathom breakout stalled late in the year, Christian Vazquez never found his groove at the plate, Blake Swihart was moved to the outfield at Triple-A before a season-ending ankle injury, and veteran Ryan Hanigan posted an injury-plagued, anemic offensive season. All said, adding depth wouldn’t make much sense, and it’s not clear that there’ll be an opportunity to find a top-quality backstop this winter. That could leave Boston with some tough questions — beginning with a call on Hanigan’s $3.75MM option (which comes with a $800K buyout). As MacPherson notes, too, both Leon and Vasquez lack remaining options. While Swihart does have one more option year remaining, his most recent usage suggests that the organization isn’t bullish on his ability to stick behind the dish.