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Twins Searching Out A Bat?

Posted by Ted Schwerzler , 13 July 2017 · 1,990 views

Recently on MLB.com, Jon Morosi wrote a trade deadline buyer's guide focused on hitters. I recently wrote a piece regarding the Twins and how they should attack the deadline when it comes to pitching and prospects. I hadn't considered them adding a bat, but there's a name Morosi mentions that could make some sense. Is this the time that Jose Bautista comes to Target Field wearing the home uniform?

There was some talk over the offseason that Minnesota may have interest in the long time Blue Jays slugger. He would join an outfield better suited defensively, but there's a clear path to regular playing time as the designated hitter. Over the winter, he ended up heading back to Toronto on a one-year deal worth $18.5 million. Now on the hook for just a prorated portion, Minnesota could attempt to entice the Canadian AL East club to send him south of the border.

On the season, Bautista has posted a .749 OPS, or his lowest mark since 2009. He owns a poor .234/.349/.400 slash line and has hit just 14 homers. Much of that is directly related to a very slow start to the year however. Since May 12, Bautista owns a .275/.379/.482 line with 11 of his 14 total homers. Having turned it on after a slow start, he's beginning to trend back up.

At 36 years old, and with over 1,000 MLB games under his belt, there was plenty of reason to worry about a downturn in 2017. Now with the season halfway over, the Blue Jays have eaten up most of that risk. Should the Twins, or some other team, trade for him at this point, they'd be getting a player with most of the risk assumed by another organization. Toronto would likely still want a decent return, but unless they are willing to eat most of what's still owed to him, any partner should have strong negotiating position.

Throughout his career, Bautista has enjoyed plenty of success at Target Field. Obviously that comes with the caveat of having faced a good amount of poor Twins pitching over the years. Nonetheless, in 21 games at Target Field, Bautista owns a 1.324 OPS with 14 homers. Obviously playing there full time, those numbers probably decrease some, but having past success to use as a springboard is hardly a bad thing.

Given the Twins current roster construction, Bautista seems to fit as well. While not a good defensive outfielder, he would immediately slot in as the every day DH. He hasn't consistently played first base for some time, but could spell Joe Mauer at the position every once in a while. He also allows Minnesota to upgrade from Robbie Grossman, who while despite being an OBP machine, has gotten exposed with increased playing time.

A lot regarding the landscape of how the Twins attack the remainder of the 2017 season will be determined in the next week or so. With tough series against good teams upcoming, Minnesota will have a much more clear picture as to how they will fair down the stretch. If everything follows along with the status quo however, Jose Bautista remains a name that makes a good deal of sense in Minnesota.

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  • Cory Engelhardt likes this



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strumdatjaguar
Jul 13 2017 07:21 AM

It's not worth giving up even a 2nd tier prospect for an aging Jose Bautista.Zach Granite has earned his way up here.Vargas gives some power off the bench and a better defensive first baseman than Bautista.

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Ted Schwerzler
Jul 13 2017 07:29 AM

It's not worth giving up even a 2nd tier prospect for an aging Jose Bautista.Zach Granite has earned his way up here.Vargas gives some power off the bench and a better defensive first baseman than Bautista.


Not sure why people are still under the impression Kennys Vargas is a big leaguer despite no evidence for that claim. Granite can be an asset, but not for his bat.
    • Cory Engelhardt and LA VIkes Fan like this
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Cory Engelhardt
Jul 13 2017 08:55 AM

Let's do this! He would be great for the younger hitters as well on the roster. HUGE upgrade on Vargas, that can't be stated enough. Depending on the return, let's go for it!

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Ted Schwerzler
Jul 13 2017 09:04 AM

 

Let's do this! He would be great for the younger hitters as well on the roster. HUGE upgrade on Vargas, that can't be stated enough. Depending on the return, let's go for it!

 

I'd be in favor of it too. Would imagine the money would be offset by the type of prospect.

Vargas is a passable major league LH hitter. Unfortunately for Kennys that is just about the last thing this teams needs.

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Ted Schwerzler
Jul 13 2017 10:17 AM

 

Vargas is a passable major league LH hitter. Unfortunately for Kennys that is just about the last thing this teams needs.

 

He has a .719 OPS against righties in 470 ABs. He's got 708 MLB ABs. I'm not on a crusade against the guy, just think he's vastly misrepresented. He's a bench bat on a good day.

    • LA VIkes Fan likes this

It seems like the Twins don't want Vrgas (and to a lesser extent Park) as the fulltime DH. And Grossman is not the answer. Or even Mauer (which brings up a whole new set of issues today and down-the-line).

 

But I wouldn't trade anyone for a rental, unless it was trading Park or Vargas...or Grossman.

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Ted Schwerzler
Jul 13 2017 12:29 PM

 

It seems like the Twins don't want Vrgas (and to a lesser extent Park) as the fulltime DH. And Grossman is not the answer. Or even Mauer (which brings up a whole new set of issues today and down-the-line).

 

But I wouldn't trade anyone for a rental, unless it was trading Park or Vargas...or Grossman.

 

They shouldn't want Vargas to be the full time anything. Park has hit, but remains a strikeout machine and without power of late. Grossman has shown strong OBP skills but has been exposed of late.

 

I am of the same "no rental" philosophy, but don't believe the acquisition cost for Bautista would be all that great. He started out slow and is owed a lot of money.

I would love Bautista, and am no fan of RG. I still think Vargas has at least an upside. But to me, any money, prospects or veterans traded, should solely go into the pitching pool. Abysmal doesn't even begin to describe our pitching.
    • HitInAPinch likes this

I'm glad the Twins didn't sign them when they had the chance over the offseason. It has turned out that putting Grossman, Vargas, Escobar, and whoever is hot at DH has worked pretty well (.252/.346/.403 so far) and saved the Twins some cash. Still, if we could get Bautista on the cheap, I'd give him a share of the DH role. He has always hit HRs easily at Target Field.

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Ex-Iowegian
Jul 14 2017 11:28 AM

Seems as though this would just be another "Park" type of move. More interested in the bolstering of pitching than a rental Power bat.

Interesting thought though.

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Ted Schwerzler
Jul 14 2017 11:41 AM

Seems as though this would just be another "Park" type of move. More interested in the bolstering of pitching than a rental Power bat.
Interesting thought though.


I'd imagine it's not a bat instead of pitching. Also, while I can see where you're coming from, Bautista is a proven MLB bat whereas Park was a projectable KBO story.

Big fan of this, obviously depending on the cost. Bautista could make this lineup very scary

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Lee-The-Twins-Fan
Jul 14 2017 02:33 PM

I think so too – but it won't happen. Management won't acquire a player by giving up prospects - unless the player can help in the future as well. Bautista is on a one-year deal. It just won't happen.

There was never a shortage of hitting on this team historically. .300 hitters were a given. Now, Rosario is our closest to an average hitter.

 

Like bat heavy prospects like Kiroloff, or Rooker.

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Ted Schwerzler
Jul 16 2017 04:38 PM

There was never a shortage of hitting on this team historically. .300 hitters were a given. Now, Rosario is our closest to an average hitter.
 
Like bat heavy prospects like Kiroloff, or Rooker.


AVG isn't the end all be all, but it is a shift. Also, Rooker/Kirilloff are bat first, but they aren't great bets to hit for avg and Kirilloff is a long ways away.

How about Vargas for Bautista?  Hell, take on Liriano's salary as well.  Maybe a homecoming would be just what he needs.  Show's the team and fans that we're willing to bring in veterans who've had success to help lead the youngsters forward through 2017.  No long term commitment, and we might catch lightning in a bottle.

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Ted Schwerzler
Jul 17 2017 08:06 AM

 

How about Vargas for Bautista?  Hell, take on Liriano's salary as well.  Maybe a homecoming would be just what he needs.  Show's the team and fans that we're willing to bring in veterans who've had success to help lead the youngsters forward through 2017.  No long term commitment, and we might catch lightning in a bottle.

 

Even in taking on Liriano's contract back, I'm not sure Vargas has much of any value.