Morosi: Don’t think Blue Jays want Bautista back

Jon Morosi of Fox Sports joins Tim and Sid to share the latest surrounding the Jays likeliness of re-signing Jose Bautista, if they could pay up for Encarnacion & what other transactions the team may make.

If the Toronto Blue Jays make a qualifying offer to pending free agent Jose Bautista, they’ll probably be hoping he rejects it.

This according to Jon Morosi, MLB insider at FOX Sports and MLB.com contributor. Morosi joined Blundell and Co. this morning to talk about what the Blue Jays need to do this off-season, which he believes includes addressing several offensive holes in the roster. Morosi suggested that Kevin Pillar might be on the trading block, and that Joey Votto is a real possibility at first base should Edwin Encarnacion not return to Toronto. And he was uncategorical about his belief that the Jays head office does not want Bautista back.

“I think they want to be younger and more left-handed,” said Morosi. “And Bautista is an older, right-handed hitter who didn’t really have that great of a season.”

If the Blue Jays do extend a qualifying offer to Bautista—and Morosi does not see this as a given (“$17.2 million is a lot of money,” he said)—he believes Bautista will reject it to pursue a multi-year deal. Morosi thinks the 36-year-old outfielder is probably worth between $12 and $15 million per annum, and said that if the player and team can come to some agreement around that kind of money, it’s possible Bautista stays in Toronto. But Morosi doesn’t see this happening.

“I really and truly believe the Blue Jays front office is ready to move on from Jose Bautista,” he said. “I just don’t think he fits with the type of club they want to have. I think he’s been a phenomenal player for this team; I think he belongs in the level of excellence. He helped bring baseball back in Toronto on a very high level. I just don’t think that their front office right now sees him as a big part of their future… It’s a different era and this is one of those first key decisions by Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins we’re going to get a sense of exactly how badly they want him back.”

As for Encarnacion, who also enters free agency this off-season, Morosi believes the Blue Jays would like to keep him, and also that the Dominican slugger would like to stay in Toronto. But he doesn’t think a deal will get done here. “I just think there’s going to be profound interest in him externally,” he said.

“It’s an interesting team right now,” Morosi said. “Upton didn’t really hit; Pillar didn’t really hit in the second half; Carrera had a good couple of weeks; Smoak didn’t really hit in the second half after signing his extension. That is basically four to five spots where you don’t know what their team is going be at some pretty important offensive positions.

“They’ve got a lot of work ahead of them. They can’t really, I don’t think, chase, certainly Bautista, and even Edwin to a certain extent, with a ton of money and sink a whole bunch of money into that one position when they really have a number of different holes they have to address.”

Morosi floated Charlie Blackmon, Adam Eaton and Ender Inciarte as possible solutions for the Blue Jays in the outfield. He also mentioned Josh Reddick as an option in right field. When asked whether the Blue Jays might try to trade for Toronto native Votto, Morosi said he thought this was a “legitimate” possibility. “I don’t think the Jays would have to give up their absolute best young players to get him,” he said, adding that Votto would have to agree to the move as he has no-trade protection in his contract with the Cincinnati Reds.

Morosi doesn’t see a world where both Votto and Encarnacion play for the Blue Jays. “That’s two franchise-player contracts,” he said. “Atkins and Shapiro want to spread things out, and they did so successfully, with their pitching staff.”

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