José Bautista is on the move. The New York Mets traded the 37-year-old outfielder to the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday, in exchange for cash or a player to be named later. The Phillies originally claimed Bautista off revocable waivers on Monday.
Bautista is hitting .196/.339/.364 on the year after stints with two different National League East teams. He signed with the Atlanta Braves in mid April and made his major league debut at the start of May, and was released just three weeks later having hit only .143/.250/.343 with two home runs. The Mets signed him to a one-year contract a day later, and he did considerably better for them: .204/.351/.367 (“Considerably better” being relative, of course.)
The Phillies were originally in on Bautista before the non-waiver trade deadline in July, but weren’t able to work out a trade. Instead they acquired infielder Asdrubal Cabrera and catcher Wilson Ramos. With Cabrera barely hitting for the Phillies (.221/.257/.356) and Ramos limited by injury until just recently, they added Justin Bour on a waiver trade to help their offense. After Bour had a breakout performace last Wednesday, he went on the disabled list the very next day with an oblique injury.
The Phillies are working hard to make up lost ground. After spending nearly a full month in first place in the NL East, they’ve fallen to second place and are 3.5 games behind the Braves. Their offense has been abysmal in August, ranking 27th in baseball. The only teams worse are the Detroit Tigers, the San Francisco Giants, and the Miami Marlins. Not great company for a team trying to make the playoffs.
The Phillies seem willing to try anything at this point to get their lineup going, and this is definitely anything. The Phillies need guys who can hit, so they’re banking on Jose Bautista to give their bench some pop. Is that wise considering Bautista has barely cracked .200 this year? It doesn’t seem like it, but maybe Bautista has something left in the tank to help the Phillies.
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