Late tonight, Fox 29′s Howard Eskin reported that Phillies GM Ruben Amaro had a more typical “headline-y” move up his sleeve at the winter GM meetings in Florida:
— Howard Eskin (@howardeskin) November 13, 2013
Woah. Jose Bautista is a former journeyman 3B/OF who turned into a 4 time All-Star upon his trade to the Blue Jays in 2008. He is 33, and has been sidelined for the end of both of the last two years with different injuries (unrelated, and apparently healed now), but he is without a doubt one of the preeminent stars in the game today.
In the last four years, Bautista has batted .268/.390/.570 with 152 HR. Lordy, that’s a lot.
He’s a strong right-handed bat (fitting the 2014 line-up nicely, even after the signing of Marlon Byrd this morning). He doesn’t make the Phillies any younger, but he is under team control for three more seasons, at a relative steal of $14 million/year.
In return, the Phillies would give up 2013 All-Star OF Domonic Brown, only 26 years old (but only under team control for one more season beyond Bautista). Brown hit 12 HR in May this year, but only hit 15 in the other 5 months of the season (not to say that’s bad; merely it might be a good time to sell high on the man).
Trading away this kind of youth would be hard to swallow, but questions around Brown’s future performance, and Bautista’s undeniable ability would make it a worthwhile risk. The relevant scary word in the report is the perennially terrifying and abstract “plus “.
The Blue Jays have the incentive to clear some salary space to address their struggling rotation with a top free agent starter, and Brown provides power from the left side at league minimum cost.
It is worth noting that this report has not be confirmed by anyone other than Eskin, but it is something to keep your ears out for over the coming days and weeks.