Jose Bautista may well have played his final games with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Howard Eskin of Fox 29 TV in Philadelphia is reporting that the Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies are in “deep” talks that would send Bautista to the City of Brotherly love in exchange for outfielder Domonic Brown and other pieces:

General managers across Major League Baseball are in Orlando this week for their annual summit, which often coincides with the hot stove heating up. Should the Philadelphia deal be consummated, Bautista would represent the first major chess piece headed elsewhere in what should be an active trade season.

Bautista, 33, is coming off his second straight injury-plagued season. The two-time major league home run champion appeared in only 118 games in 2013, hitting 28 home runs and 73 RBI as the high-priced Blue Jays fell out of the race early and finished in last place in the AL East.

Bautista has now missed 114 games since his 43 home run campaign in 2011. He has at least two years remaining on the five-year, $64 million deal, as the Blue Jays currently have a club option for $14 million for 2016. While that number is pittance for a healthy Bautista—he had a combined wins above replacement of 14.2 in 2010 and 2011—Toronto might value the younger, cheaper Brown.

One of the few recent success stories for the Phillies farm system, Brown, 26, has a ton of raw power but hasn’t been able to put it all together. In his first full season in the bigs, Brown batted .272 with 27 home runs and 83 RBI, leading the team in both power categories.

However, Brown is considered a major minus on the defensive side and was worth more than two fewer wins than Bautista in 21 more games. The Phillies have explored trading Brown numerous times in previous deals, most notably last offseason when they nearly sent him to the Cubs for Alfonso Soriano. 

With the team coming to terms with Marlon Byrd earlier this week, perhaps it views Brown as expendable. Bautista has played third base in the past, and the Phillies have had a longstanding hole on their hot corner. Having fallen all the way to 73-89 this past season despite a roster of high-paid veterans, Amaro likely views Bautista as a linchpin that could help reinvigorate the club’s struggling offense. 

It’s unclear what Philadelphia would surrender in the deal, though a mid-level prospect or two seems reasonable. Either way, it looks increasingly like Bautista‘s days in the Great White North are numbered. 


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