Jose Bautista has been speculatively linked to the Rays as a possible free agent target, though if Tampa Bay does make a move, MLB.com’s Bill Chastain notes that it might not come until late in the offseason. The Rays have past used the tactic of coming in late with an offer to a veteran free agent (i.e. Asdrubal Cabrera, Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon) who is running short on options, so the Rays can land the player at a price that fits their limited budget. Bautista’s market is still pretty unclear as we approach Christmas, with the first-round draft pick attached to him via the qualifying offer seemingly acting as a deterrent to many clubs. The Rays’ top pick is protected so they would only have to surrender their competitive-balance round selection to sign Bautista — maybe an acceptable risk for a Tampa club that wants to compete in 2017, Chastain notes.
Here’s some more from around baseball…
- Ben Revere could sign as soon as tomorrow, MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko reports (Twitter links). The mystery team isn’t the Orioles, Kubatko notes, though the O’s like the outfielder and checked in on him more than once this offseason. Revere is hoping to bounce back after an injury-marred and mediocre 2016 season that saw him get non-tendered by the Nationals earlier this month.
- Catcher Bryan Holaday can earn $850K in the majors under his new minor-league pact with the Phillies, Crasnick recently tweeted. That lands just shy of MLBTR’s $900K arbitration projection for the 29-year-old, though of course he’ll need to earn a roster spot to get it. Holaday seems to have a solid shot at taking over reserve duties behind presumptive Philadelphia starter Cameron Rupp, though he may need to hold off some younger challengers (and any additional veterans who may be added) in camp.
- Former Padres and Tigers GM Randy Smith has been hired by the Nippon-Ham Fighters’ front office, according to a Kyodo News report. Smith will be a senior advisor to Fighters general manager Hiroshi Yoshimura (a former member of Detroit’s front office when Smith ran the club) and the Fighters’ Major League scouting director.