The days of sluggers Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista terrorizing opposing pitchers as part of the same lineup might not be over. Despite general manager Mike Chernoff’s implication earlier this week that the Indians are done making major splashes after signing Encarnacion, they’re still “in touch” with Bautista and other free agents, reports FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
Whether Cleveland will make any other significant moves this offseason will depend on ownership’s willingness to further increase payroll, per Rosenthal. In light of that, it’s perhaps worth noting that the Indians’ run to the World Series last season generated a sizable amount of extra revenue for the franchise.
Should ownership sign off on adding Bautista, whose market has been shockingly quiet this winter, it would reunite him and longtime Toronto teammate Encarnacion and make the reigning American League champions’ lineup even more formidable. The 36-year-old Bautista would likely continue as a right fielder in Cleveland, which already has Carlos Santana and Encarnacion set to occupy designated hitter and first base.
The Indians seem to have a full contingent of outfielders with Michael Brantley, Tyler Naquin, Lonnie Chisenhall, Brandon Guyer and Abraham Almonte in the fold, not to mention prospect Bradley Zimmer nearing the majors. Brantley missed nearly all of last season with shoulder issues, though, so Bautista’s presence would provide insurance if he’s unable to bounce back in 2017. And no one else from that group is nearly as established as Bautista, who Rosenthal suggests could bump Chisenhall to center.
Bautista rejected a qualifying offer from the Blue Jays before becoming a free agent, which means signing him could cost any team without a top 10 pick a first-rounder in next summer’s draft. The Indians already punted their top selection to secure Encarnacion, however, so they would only have to surrender a second-rounder – currently No. 64 – to sign Bautista. If they do, a back-loaded, two-year deal could be a possibility, according to Rosenthal, who notes that Santana is scheduled to become a free agent next offseason. Bautista would then take over for Santana at DH/first, which would be a logical step for an aging player who’s not an asset in the outfield. Bautista is certainly a positive at the plate, though; even in a down, injury-shortened 2016, he still slashed a more-than-respectable .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs in 517 plate appearances.
Regardless of whether they reel in Bautista or another corner outfielder, the Indians are also continuing to monitor the corner infield and relief markets, writes Rosenthal. Any further additions would beef up an Opening Day payroll that Jason Martinez of MLBTR and Roster Resource projects for $119MM-plus. The Indians began last season in the $96MM range and ended it one win from a World Series championship.
oh geez no. if they sign him and DIDNT re sign rajai, i’m gonna be mad
So let me understand, you wanted them to sign Rajai (don’t disagree) and will be mad if they sign Bautista. Would you be less mad if they sign nobody going forward?
i just have a strong dislike for him. i think he’s a jerk. don’t want him in the clubhouse. even if he doesn’t decline (which he probably will), id rather have chisenhall and guyer in RF. their splits make them a perfect RF platoon. if anything i would only want it bc of the uncertainty of brantley’s health. but i think jose is a bum and a showboat
Youre acting as if he’s a clubhouse cancer
He is a clubhouse cancer. When you think about the player with the worst attitude Bautista doesn’t come to your mind?
No, Danny Valencia comes to mind first. His attitude has caused him to be run off teams. Second to that, probably Papelbon.
Bautista may be a jerk and difficult to like..but there’s no indication that he’s a clubhouse cancer.
He’s never been considered a clubhouse cancer by media or teammates, you’re just letting bias get to your head
You hate him as an opposing fan, but there’s never been any indication he’s a cancer
You’re making this assumption because you’re an Orioles fan, and you dislike him, that’s it!
If you are relying upon Rogers Media to give you an accurate assessment of anything related to the Jays, well, you’re relying on a public relations campaign determined to sell all things Jays. “Clubhouse cancer” is a heavy term (though not too far off), but there is little denying Bautista’s less than likeable demeanour. Too many Jays fans refuse to acknowledge Bautista’s shortcomings. It’s mid-January, Bautista is not only unsigned, but drawing little interest – indicative of red flags beyond age and injury.
Not all beat writers for the Jays work for Rogers media and nobody has ever indicated JB as a clubhouse cancer.
So making the assumption of Rogers media protecting JB is baseless.
I think I will still trust Rogers media than an angry Orioles fan who believes he’s a clubhouse cancer because JB continues to get the better of his team! Lol
The worst part of the clubhouse cancer talk is there is almost always a guy on a team that is that guy no one likes but everyone deals with just because he performs. If jb hits close to like he did in years past or just slightly better than an injury riddled last season he could be the steal of the off-season regardless of your feelings or anyone else’s of him personally.
Yup. Nobody would be talking about this if JB didn’t have his injuries last season, in which he still put up decent numbers.
The biggest factor of why he’s still unsigned is the pick that’s attached to him, and probably because of his age, not his attitude.
do you care that there are “jerks” on the team if they win a WS?
You can’t possibly believe what you’re saying
Actually sculls I’m relying on the lack of articles from everywhere about him being a clubhouse cancer
no, i dont thinknof any players attitude because im not around them. making assumptions on the 2% of their life you see is silly.
Ridiculous. You’d be hard pressed to find a negative comment about Bautista from any Jays player that’s ever spent time with him, on the field or in the club house. And that has nothing to do with Rogers. The fact that he’s unsigned has everything to do with the current market and the fact that he’s now a 38 year old player who just put up his worst set of numbers since Pittsburgh. Whoever signs Jose Bautista at a discount may be yelling start the car by July.
I’d welcome this, but put it in his contract that he must buy Merritt a lifetime supply of boots.
you just won the internet my friend
I was wondering what you meant.
“With our experience in our lineup, I’m pretty sure he’s going to be shaking in his boots more than we are.”
If he’s unwilling to meet this stipulation then he at least has to accept the new moniker, “Joey Boots”.
I think a trade for Nick Markakis or Aaron Althur would make more sense
I would love to see Markakis there
Thank you for making the mandatory “Nick Markakis trade.” You saved us all the effort.
Who in the heck is Aaron Althur?
Nola Di Bari 67
How the hell did you guys let that World Series get away?!!?
Did you see that pitching staff and how hard they had to work Kluber? It’s a miracle they ever had a series lead in the first place imo.
If they had their full staff they probably would have won.
Jose Bautista does not belong on a team as classy as the Cleveland Indians:
What we witnessed from the 2016 Cleveland Indians should be remembered as one of the most remarkable teams ever. The Indians lost Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar. Yan Gomes, Michael Brantley and Marlon Byrd. I’ve been a fan of Baseball for more than 40 years and more than any other team, the Indians over achieved to get to extra innings of the 7th game of the World Series against a team considered far superior to all other teams in MLB. Even the 1969 Miracle Mets and the 1914 Miracle Braves had their pitching staffs intact during the World Series. The Indians never gave up.
Joey Belle was on the Indians
Robbie Alomar- Hall of Famer- spitter.
Don’t say Jose isn’t classy enough to be on a team named the Indians ffs
Cleveland and classy in the same sentence? Slow down, Chief Wahoo. I’m pretty sure you’d even be hard pressed to get Cheap Trick and Drew Carey to argree with that.
They choked it away.
I agree with what was stated up above. If he Indians had their normal rotation, they would have won the World Series in 5/6 games.
sign Bautista and flip Santana for a good relief option…like Kintzler or Jeanmar Gomez, either way the Indians are going to be formidable this year.
Nola Di Bari 67
Man how the hell did you guys let that World Series get away?!!?
Sign Saunders too while you’re at it.
Hey if you can’t beat em join em.
They do have francona to manage Bautista. If he can tone manny down I’m sure he could w joey bats. But ya I would be scared if him ruining chemistry. I say pass. He’ll end up in Oakland lol
When are the Blue Jays going to realize that they aren’t going to get a 1st round pick for Bautista? If they don’t want to sign him for baseball reasons, fine. However, it would be stupid on their part to not bring him back just because the draft pick. No team is going to sign him who has to surrender a 1st round pick. The only teams that are going to sign him are teams with protected picks or a team that has already surrendered their 1st round pick. Despite his faults, Bautista remains the best corner outfielder still on the market. The Jays still need a corner outfielder. A return to Toronto on a 1 year deal makes sense
Doesn’t matter what pick the team signing him has. If he signs, the blue jays get a comp round pick
Do you know baseball? It doesn’t matter if the team that signs him has a protected 1st round pick, the Blue Jays compensation pick would still fall at the same slot after the 1st round.
I’m a Mets fan but it’d be awesome if Cleveland signed him.
Especially to a one year deal.
Agreed, once he’s off the market maybe some teams will gain some interest in Bruce.
You have a nice team and lineup….. You don’t need Bautista
wow good for you Cleveland, I loved both of these Guys as a Jays fan. Jose will be the biggest bargain this offseason
I can see the possibility of Bautista following the same path Morales took a few years ago and not signing until after the June draft.
As a Jays fan have I been tired of Bautista and his attitude? Yes, but I would still take him on my team. There is no doubt on offence is better with him than they are without. One thing that will not decline is his approach at the plate. He is not an outfielder (at least RF) anymore, but he gets on base and has been praised for his work with teammates regarding their approaches and game plans. The Jays need him back, but if the Indians could sign him they would be the class of the AL.
I wanted Eddie over Jose, but I def want Jose back. He’s going to be the biggest bargain in the free agent market. If he goes to CLE I’m okay with that bc I get what they’re doing and why he would choose CLE over TOR, but TO needs him
I can’t understand why the Jays haven’t signed him yet. It seems pretty clear to me that if he signs with Cleveland it won’t be because he’s picking the Indians over the Jays, it’ll be because the Jays front office had no interest in signing him.
And I do agree “Toronto needs him”
I wonder if they are considering this because Brantley is not progressing as well as expected. Is there something to this?
Please, Baseball Gods tell me he’s not the new Grady Sizemore.
I’m quite surprised no has mentioned Rosenthals comment to ” bump Chisenhall to center.”
Bautista is a brick in RF. Moving Chisenhall to CF, in addition, can’t help the overall D. Sounds like there would be an increase in doubles and triples by the visiting team, with those gaps.
Agreed. Naquin is barely adequate in center and Chisenhall would be a disaster. When Bautista is healthy, what are his fielding stats compared to guyer/Chisenhall? Close?
Put Almonte in center.
Put Almonte on the waiver wire, we don’t need or wants the PED cheaters in the lineup.
I’d go after Carter or Trumbo before Bautista. But that’s me.
Why? Carter and Trumbo are strikeout machines, and both are worse defenders than Bautista.
Trumbo isn’t in the same league as Bautista when it comes to getting on base too and will be much more expensive.
I still don’t know how people dislike a player for fake assumptions, JB is a great person and player, I have personally reach at him while working out at the Body Shop athletic club in the DR. Great personality and good sense of humor. people dislike him for a bat flip, period. I hope to have another Dominican in the tribe clubhouse which makes others including him to do his best, that’s what players do, push themselves and their partners to be better.
Think it would be a great move for the Indians.after coming just short of a championship,adding 2 power bats would definitely be pushing the chips in for the jackpot.
Kicking the tires…to be totally trite.
The Jays need to sign Bautista. Trying to save a few dollars will kill the fan base. Right now is not the time for that
Don’t do it!!! Not worth disrupting the locker room and giving up a 2nd round pick when you already surrendered the 1st rounder.