While Yoenis Cespedes received a four-year, $110 million contract from the New York Mets, the offseason hasn’t been nearly as kind to former Toronto Blue Jays teammates Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, among other sluggers.
Prior to the 2016 season beginning, Bautista was said to be seeking a five-year extension in the neighborhood of $150 million. Toronto didn’t come to terms with Bautista, which appeared prudent as the then-35-year-old went on to have a subpar season.
Now the right-handed slugger finds himself with little fanfare as a free agent, perhaps in some part due to the draft pick attached by virtue of rejecting the qualifying offer from the Blue Jays.
While the Dodgers have an abundance of outfielders and key free agents in Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner to continue pursuing, the club reached out to Bautista, per Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star:
A source indicates that free-agent outfielder Jose Bautista and his camp have been contacted by the Los Angeles Dodgers regarding a potential contract, but that those talks are on hold until the major-league trade market further plays itself out.
Bautista missed 30 games this season after suffering a toe injury in June, and was again put on the 15-day disabled list in August due to a left knee sprain.
He finished the year batting .234/.366/.452 with 24 doubles, 22 home runs, 69 RBI and 117 OPS+ over 116 games.
The down season snapped a six-year run of Bautista being named to the American League All-Star team. From 2010-15, he batted .268/.390/.555 with 153 doubles, 227 home runs and a 156 OPS+ in 3, 604 plate appearances.
Beyond failing to produce his usual output at the plate in 2016, Bautista again didn’t grade out favorably defensively. Over the past two seasons he has -11 Defensive Runs Saved and -11.2 UZR/150.
The Dodgers in some sense may have an opening in right field, particularly if the club elects to trade Yasiel Puig. Though, manager Dave Roberts doesn’t anticipate the enigmatic 25-year-old being traded.
Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen and Kansas City Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain are among the other outfielders the Dodgers have recently been linked to.