With a three-game deficit in the NL East standings and a two-game deficit in the race for the second NL wild-card spot, the Phillies continue to look for ways to improve what has been a sluggish offense.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Phillies have claimed veteran slugger Jose Bautista off revocable trade waivers from the Mets. The two clubs have until Tuesday to work out a trade before the 48-hour negotiating period expires.
#Phillies have claimed #Mets’ Jose Bautista on revocable trade waivers, sources tell The Athletic. Teams discussing a deal, would need to complete it by tomorrow. Bautista slumped badly at start of August, but has .738 OPS in last 14 games.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 27, 2018
Bautista, 37, signed with the Mets earlier this season after being released by the Braves. He's put up a serviceable .207/.352/.372 batting line with nine home runs and 50 walks in 82 games with New York. Despite a low batting average, the right-handed hitting Bautista has gotten on base a ton against lefties this year (.179/.373/.372).
Now that he has been claimed on trade waivers, the Mets have three options with Bautista.
- Trade him to the Phillies. Players claimed on trade waivers can only be traded to the claiming team.
- Let him go on the waiver claim. This would effectively be a salary dump, though the Mets are only paying Bautista the pro-rated portion of the league minimum.
- Pull him back and keep him. Trade waivers are completely revocable, so the Mets could simply keep Bautista the rest of the season.
The Mets and Phillies worked out the Asdrubal Cabrera trade prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, so it stands to reason the Mets are familiar with Philadelphia's farm system. That said, Bautista doesn't carry much trade value at this point, and the Mets have little leverage since he's been claimed on trade waivers. They might be able to pry a Grade-C prospect loose. That's about it.
The Phillies are averaging only 4.33 runs per game this season, including 4.13 runs per game in August, and they've been very aggressive looking for upgrades in recent weeks. They acquired Cabrera and Wilson Ramos at the trade deadline, and Justin Bour in a trade waiver deal two weeks ago. Right now though, with Bour on the disabled list with an oblique injury, the Phillies are carrying a four-man bench that includes two catchers (Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp). It's easy to see where Bautista fits.