The Tampa Bay Rays have seemed to open up to the thought of signing free-agent outfielder Jose Bautista.
According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, the Tampa Bay Rays are thinking about signing Jose Bautista as his value drops during free-agency. Topkin reported about what the Rays GM said on the topic.
“I think we’re at a position where we feel like we need to at least play it forward and take a crack at it,” GM Erik Neander said Friday. “If the interest and market dictates that we go a different direction, we have to consider it and trust our evaluations. But we believe in a lot of the players we have.”
Topkin also reports that the team is looking at other options as well. Those options include Ryan Howard, Billy Butler, Pedro Alvarez, and Logan Morrison. The Rays are looking for a designated hitter that holds some power next season. Jose Bautista is the best option of them all.
The Rays are trying to rebound from an embarrassing 2016 season, where they finished last in the AL East with a 68-94 record. The AL East has improved even more this year with the Yankees and Red Sox improving their teams thus far. Tampa Bay is going to have to try and match that and this is why they are taking a good hard look at Jose Bautista. The Rays are not used to spending a lot of money, coming from a small market, but Bautista could be exactly what they need to be back in the AL East hunt next season.
Bautista, 36, had a subpar season with the Blue Jays last year, according to his standards. He hit .234/.366/.452 in 517 plate appearances, while hitting 22 home runs and driving in 69 runs. Despite those lower numbers, the Rays would love to add that powerful production to their lineup next season, something that they they can add to. The Rays were terrific at hitting the long ball last season, hitting 216 home runs in 162 games. This put them 6th in the Major Leagues and 4th in the American League. If the Rays can sign Jose Bautista, their lineup will be very scary, in an already scary AL East next year.
The Tampa Bay Rays are the team to to watch in the AL East, the rest of the off-season. They have a chance to become one of the best power hitting lineups in MLB. The first step is trying to acquire that name will be signing the always potent Jose Bautista.