Trivia question: Who led major league baseball in home runs last season?
That would be Toronto’s Jose Bautista. He led the league with 54 home runs. He won a Silver Slugger, the Hank Aaron award, was an AL All Star, and finished fourth in the AL MVP balloting.
Why do I bring this up in the middle of winter?
Well, with three weeks and change until the Red Sox report for Spring Training (and another 6 inches of snow on the ground) a report came out yesterday that the Sox pursued the Toronto outfielder via trade from the Blue Jays. This of course happening before they signed Carl Crawford.
So it’s clear the team wanted to improve it’s offense this off-season but I don’t think that this guy would have been the answer. If he goes on to have another monster year crushing 50+ home runs, I’ll eat my words, but I’m uncomfortable mortgaging the farm on a possible one year wonder.
Sure he’s right handed which I think plays favorably in a predominantly left handed lineup (Crawford pushes the team to the heavy side of lefties) and he hits for power (obviously). And it turns out that this is the second time the Sox tried to swing a deal for him after winning a waiver claim on him in 2009 and failing to work out a deal with the Blue Jays.
Toronto, having gotten out of Vernon Wells’ overinflated contract can now try and work out a long term deal with Bautista. That’s $80+ million they’ve freed up.
The bottom line, I don’t think we’ve heard the last of Bautista in a Sox uniform. After all, the team will be out from JD Drew’s contract after this season when Bautista becomes a free agent. Even though the team spent like drunken sailors this past off-season (assuming Gonzalez’s extension) I think this guy is in Theo’s crosshairs and will be a big target in the 2011-2012 off-season.