This article is about why Jose Bautista should play for the Reds. Here is my reason:
Is there anything else you need?
If that doesn’t convince you, maybe this will: Jose Bautista is the biggest on-base percentage monster available this offseason. He is old and expensive, but he still has a big bat and a bad attitude. And these are two things the Reds need.
Jose Bautista could not just replace Jay Bruce, but also be an acquisition a la Greg Vaughn and Shin-Soo Choo. Bautista could be the loudmouth leader to help bring up the young guys. And, he gets on base.
Bautista will be entering his age-36 season and has hit .256/.375/.509 over the past five years (which does not include his behemoth MVP-ish seasons). True, he has only gotten over 600 PAs in a couple of those seasons, but still: his projected ~15% walk rate is closer to Joey Votto’s than it is to anyone else on the Reds’. Bautista’s projected .225 ISO makes him a better slugger than anyone besides Votto and arguably Duvall.
What’s more, Bautista isn’t really taking anyone’s spot. The RF/LF spots on the field are full of dudes keeping the outfield warm for Jesse Winker, Phil Ervin, Aristides Aquino, et al. Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler both seem to be very nice young men. Neither are looking like franchise cornerstones. And if either of them turn into such a player: congrats! You still have another outfield spot open for Bautista.
He could be the rare Jay Bruce replacement that will be better than Jay Bruce. If he ages into a fearsome pinch-hitter/fourth outfielder, well, the Reds have plenty of outfield prospects to press him for playing time. “Furious Carlos Beltran” is a very good role player to have!
It’s true that Bautista will be expensive. He’s...well, he’s earned it, as one of the most feared sluggers in the American League. But the facts are that he is old and the Reds have the money.
The Reds’ only commitments right now are: Votto, Homer Bailey, Devin Mesoraco, and Brandon Phillips. BP comes off the books in 10 months, Devin Mesoraco is the source of both a Harvard Business case study on “sunk cost” and Paul Wegener’s landmark silent film Der Golem.
There is plenty of room for $25M over 3 years. 2020 will be Billy Hamilton’s first free agent year and the last arbitration year for: Dan Straily, Anthony Desclafani, and Eugenio Suarez. All the other likeable dudes you know will still be hella cheap. The money, emphatically, is there for a veteran like Bautista.
Right now, the Reds are basically praying that Devin Mesoraco turns into Jose Bautista. Why pray when the real thing is right there, in the free agent market? Why hope that Winker can turn into Jose Bautista when you can just...hire Jose Bautista?
What’s the maximum years/money you’d give Joey Bats? I’d say 3/$70M. What say you?