1:57pm: SNY’s Andy Martino tweets that it’s “likely” the two sides will work something out, but there’s no agreement believed to be close just yet. Fancred’s Jon Heyman tweets that the Mets have told the Phillies they won’t simply let Bautista go on waivers, so it seems the two sides will have to match up on a minor leaguer or at least agree to a group of names from which the Mets can select a player to be named later.
1:47pm: The Phillies have claimed Mets outfielder Jose Bautista on revocable trade waivers, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). The two sides are discussing a deal and have until tomorrow to complete a swap, Rosenthal adds. Technically, the Mets could also just let Bautista go to the Phillies, though with the Mets only paying him the league-minimum rate, there wouldn’t be any real cost-savings associated with doing so; they’d have to replace him by calling up another player earning at that same rate.
Bautista, 37, started out hot after signing with the Mets, hitting at a .266/.438/.506 pace with three homers and 10 doubles through his first 105 plate appearances with his new club. However, his offensive production cratered over the next few months, and he’s posted a dismal .178/.306/.307 slash in 193 plate appearances since that time. As Rosenthal points out, he’s swung the bat a bit better as of late, getting on base at a .368 clip over the past two weeks, but the veteran slugger simply hasn’t produced much since the calendar flipped to July.
Then again, the Phillies may not be looking at Bautista as much more than a right-handed pinch-hitting option to carry throughout the month of September once rosters expand. He wouldn’t cost them anything more than the pro-rated minimum, and it’s likely that the cost of acquisition would be negligible.
The Phils don’t have much in the way of right-handed bench bats on the current roster, nor do they possess many intriguing right-handed-hitting options at the upper levels of their minor league ranks. Aaron Altherr figures to rejoin the club, and Trevor Plouffe is still in the organization, but neither has been demonstrably better than Bautista at the plate in 2018. Journeyman Matt McBride and 26-year-old Joey Meneses are other righty bats who’ve had some success in Triple-A this season, but the roster could be expanded to give manager Gabe Kapler multiple options. Ultimately, so long as the Phillies don’t need to give up anything of real substance, there’s little harm in adding Bautista and his overall .340 OBP to the bench — even if the addition doesn’t do much to move the move the needle as the Phillies try to make up ground in both the NL East (3 games back) and the NL Wild Card race (2 games back).