Minnesota Twins: Jose Bautista in Talks with Team

The Minnesota Twins are the latest teamed rumored to be looking into free agent outfielder Jose Bautista.

MLB.com reports that the Minnesota Twins have been in touch with free agent outfielder Jose Bautista.

The Twins have had plenty of opportunity to see Bautista in action the last few years. In 98 plate appearances at Target Field, he has hit 14 home runs with a 1.324 OPS.

Going into the 2016 season, Bautista was one of the most coveted upcoming free agents. Prior to spring training, it was reported that he was seeking a five-year contract worth roughly $150 million. However, an injury-laden year which saw him hit just .234 with 22 home runs in 116 games has significantly lowered his stock.

Due to his advanced age and weak 2016 showing, the 36-year-old slugger remains one of the biggest names in MLB still unsigned. Following the postseason, he turned down the Blue Jays’ qualifying offer of one year, $17.2 million. It is believed that no other offers have been made by his former team since.

Other teams that have been mentioned as potential homes for Bautista include the Red Sox, the Rays, and most recently the Phillies, but no agreement has been reached.

All roads appear to be leading back to Toronto, where Bautista has said he would like to return. At the moment, the Blue Jays seem to be the strongest contender for Bautista, at least according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, who claimed on December 29 that Toronto was in “active contract discussions” with the free agent’s representatives.

Bautista is second all-time in Jays history in home runs and fifth in runs batted in. In 2015, he led the team to their first postseason appearance since 1993. In nine seasons in Toronto, he has hit .261/.382/.528 with 265 home runs. 2016 marked the first time since 2009 that he was not selected for the All-Star team.

With less than two months to go before players report to spring training, the window of opportunity for Bautista appears to be getting narrower by the day.

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