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Can it be true?
If true, it won’t be the first time the Phillies have kicked the tires on Bautista. According to Bob Elliot of the Toronto Sun the Phillies were scouting the Jays heavily in July of 2010 in hopes of acquiring him.
On the surface, a swap of the two makes sense for the Phillies since their lineup is lefty heavy and the top free agents are lefty as well. Bautista may be able to play third base against tougher lefties if Cody Asche can‘t seize the everyday role. It also opens the door to signing a big name lefty free agent, perhaps Jacoby Ellsbury, Curtis Granderson or Brian McCann.
Bautista hasn’t played at the same MVP level in the past two seasons as he did in his breakout 2010 and 2011 campaigns, mainly due to injuries limiting his plate appearances. Still, he reached base at an impressive .358 clip and was a serious, game-changing power threat. He would instantly add balance and power to the Phillies lineup and he’s a better defender than Brown.
But what is the “Plus“? Jonathan Pettibone? Jesse Biddle? Shane Watson? How about two of those three? The Blue Jays are known to be interested in starting pitching and the Phillies aren’t exactly deep in that department after Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.
Brown is dynamic, young, cheap, and cost-controlled. The Phillies don’t have that many tradable assets and Brown heads the list. I’d prefer to hear rumors of Brown for David Price, but who knows if the Rays are even interested in Brown or Phillies prospects. No one wants to see Maikel Franco dealt after the season he had but what if that’s what it would take to get Bautista or Price?
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Bautista would be an immediate upgrade over Brown. It’s the “Plus” that has me worried. That, and their pursuit of another right-handed hitter reinforces my dread that Carlos Ruiz will not be back.
A rumor like this keeps fans up at night. In Ruben we Trust? Not exactly. We’re all holding our breath.