Rest easy, Toronto Blue Jays fans. The Boston Red Sox will not be signing free-agent slugger Jose Bautista to replace David Ortiz -- this despite Bautista's desire to reach an agreement to remain in the AL East.
That information comes via a report from Peter Gammons:
Jose Bautista wanted to work something out, but Dombrowski told his agent, Jay Alou, they were done in terms of payroll
The Red Sox, of course, just added some payroll during the week by trading for Chris Sale and signing Mitch Moreland. If Dave Dombrowski is committed to avoiding the luxury tax -- and he seems to be -- then the Red Sox won't be able to add any significant salary over the ensuing few months.
Bautista's market, meanwhile, remains unclear. Publicly, the team most connected to him over the past week-plus has been the Blue Jays -- though indications are that progress toward a reunion has been slow. Given Bautista will require draft-pick compensation to sign, it's not too surprising that his market is developing slowly at this point -- and it's possible he won't find a suitor until right before spring.
Just don't expect that suitor to be the Red Sox.