Report: Orioles are in contact with Bautista and here's why it makes a lot of sense
Even if the fans don't like him yet, he'd make a great fit
Back during the Winter Meetings, Orioles general manager Dan Duquette said that the Orioles weren't interested in signing free agent slugger Jose Bautista because "our fans don't like him," but it seems that might not have been 100 percent true.
Bautista has been sitting around unsigned for long enough this offseason that he could likely be had at a bargain price by now, so it would be really stupid for the Orioles to totally ignore him, especially based upon the fan base's feelings of a player who used to play on an intra-division rival.
You know all those Orioles fans who hate Bautista? The first time he crushes a home run and flips his bat, they'll be quite OK with him. There's a great need, too.
Right now the Orioles' designated hitter to start the season would be someone like Trey Mancini or Joey Rickard. In right field, there looks to be a Seth Smith/Rickard platoon. Bautista could slot in either place.
Also, go back to my leadoff hitter piece from a few days ago and it applies here. Adam Jones looks like Buck Showalter's leadoff man right now, but it's a bad fit. He rarely walks. He hit .265 with a .310 OBP last season and his career OBP is .318. That's not very good overall, but it's terrible for a leadoff man. He does have good power, though, so he needs to be moved down in the order.
Bautista, on the flip side, takes a lot of walks (he led the AL in 2011 and 2015) and has a .387 OBP in the last seven seasons. As I noted in the leadoff piece, even if his power starts to go as he hits age 36, the OBP chops will remain a few more seasons.
In turn, a Bautista signing with the Orioles should make the lineup look like this:
Obviously Schoop or maybe the right field platoon could hit second making Machado-Davis-Jones a superb 3-4-5 combo, too. I just wanted to lay it out to show how much better Bautista leading off makes the lineup look.
Do it, Orioles. Your fans will be loving him by the end of April.
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