Mets reportedly interested in signing Jose Bautista to shore up outfield depth following several injuries

Even when things are going well for the New York Mets, they still seem to take some hits.

The Mets completed a three-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks over the weekend, but, over the last five days, they've lost outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Juan Lagares to injury. Cespedes has a flexor strain and could return next week. Lagares requires toe surgery and could miss the rest of the season.

For the now the Mets will roll with Jay Bruce, Michael Conforto, and Brandon Nimmo as their starting outfield and hey, things could be worse. Those are three quality players. The Mets are short on outfield depth beyond those three, however, so much so that they are playing top prospect Dominic Smith in right field in Triple-A. Smith is a first baseman by trade.

Here's what manager Mickey Callaway told reporters, including MLB.com's Anthony DiComo, about Smith experimenting in right field:

"When Lagares got hurt, we had to start thinking outside the box," Callaway said. "There aren't outfielders just running around that are really good to be able to come and add depth in our organization. So this is one way to help that." 

"The way he's been moving around, the way he's been working, he's a really good athlete," Callaway said. "He does a great job of really catching the ball at first base. So we were all just talking about it the other day, with the injuries he's had, it makes some sense for him to go out in right field and get some reps so he can be an option at times." 

Not surprisingly, the Mets now reportedly have some interest in veteran slugger Jose Bautista, who was released by the Atlanta Braves over the weekend.

Even as a temporary solution, Bautista does make sense for the Mets. He can provide some outfield depth and also give them another option at third base while Todd Frazier is out with a hamstring injury. And, because Bautista was released by the Braves, the Mets can sign him for the pro-rated portion of the league minimum. He's not going to break their budget.

The 37-year-old Bautista authored a .143/.250/.343 (63 OPS+) batting line with two home runs in 12 games for Atlanta before being cut loose. Last season he hit .203/.308/.366 (77 OPS+) with 23 home runs for the Toronto Blue Jays, so clearly his career is winding down. Hooking on with the Mets may be Bautista's last chance in the big leagues.

As an added bonus, the Mets visit the Blue Jays for a quick two-game series from July 3-4. Should Bautista sign with the Mets and stick around for another few weeks, he'll get to play in Rogers Centre and receive a hero's welcome later this summer. If this is the end, that would be a fine way to go out.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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