Jose Bautista is in the final year of his contract with the Toronto Blue Jays and has made no secret about his desire to get paid, so it’s fitting he would have a team with a seemingly limitless supply of money to spend on his list of destinations. 

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Bautista Looking at Red Sox

Thursday, June 2

Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reported Thursday that Bautista and teammate Edwin Encarnacion “envision the (Boston) Red Sox as a possible winter landing spot, provided David Ortiz really does go through with his plan to retire.”

Bautista is going to keep any team that has a lot of money and a desire to spend on his radar this winter. Rick Westhead of reported February the six-time All-Star was seeking a contract of at least five years and $150 million. 

In an era of baseball with more money coming in for teams to sign free agents, that kind of salary is not an unreasonable demand for a player with Bautista’s track record. His average season from 2010-15 included a .268/.390/.555 slash line with 38 home runs and 5.4 wins above replacement, per FanGraphs.

The problem for Bautista as he hopes to secure that kind of deal is age. He became a star late in his career and will turn 36 on October 19. There’s no denying the offensive impact he’s had since 2010, but projecting him forward is not going to make teams open the bank for him. 

There’s also the issue of why the Red Sox would give Bautista that kind of money. They aren’t hurting for young offensive talent, especially in the outfield with players like Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. under team control through 2020. 

The Red Sox also have Andrew Benintendi making his way through the minor leagues to play in the outfield, presumably as soon as 2017. 

Bautista may assume the Red Sox want a designated hitter to replace Ortiz, but players with one specialty and no defensive value don’t make $30 million per season. As great as Ortiz has been throughout his career and as great as he’s been in 2016, per Spotrac, he’s making “only” $16 million.  

Yet just looking at the business side of things, Bautista’s reported interest in the Red Sox makes complete sense because they are willing to spend a lot of money if they believe it will help their team win. 

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