Approximately 16 hours after Toronto Blue Jays‘ star Jose Bautista made this emotional post on Instagram, saying “Missing this…. Me hace falta esto… #bluejays #mlb #baseball,” Jeff Blair of SportsNet 590 The Fan in Toronto spoiled the love fest by saying he believes that Bautista won’t be back as a Blue Jays player for the 2014 MLB season.
This was very much said to the chagrin of Blue Jays fans all across Canada, and those that still hope the team can be a legit contender in the AL East and the American League as a whole.
Bautista still has approximately $28 million left on this five-year, $65 million contract with an option for 2016 worth $14 million. That option needs to be picked up by the Blue Jays when the time comes. Sorry Mr. Blair, your hunger for starting pitching will only get eaten up by the injury bug once you run Joey Bats out of town for yet another starting pitcher who will most likely find himself on the DL at some pivotal point in the season.
That’s just what happens in Toronto. It’s hard enough to get a stand-up guy like Bautista that is vocal about his positive comfort level in the struggling sports city north of the border. The Blue Jays need to keep him and continue to have faith in the meat of the order that GM Alex Anthopoulos has constructed. Bautista isn’t your Vince Carter/Chris Bosh/Roy Halladay kind of man. He’s a good guy to have around.
Let’s say, for some ridiculous reason, the Blue Jays front office agree with Blair’s idea of getting rid of Bautista, and they do pull the trigger in order to strengthen their somewhat tattered starting pitching rotation. The first thing that would go down is the morale amongst that coveted top of the order.
The Dominican trio of Jose Reyes, Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion would be no more, and you can be sure that the two that are still in Toronto would not be happy. Bautista is the leader, he’s the All-Star, he’s the guy that paved the way for Encarnacion to hit 40 home runs. You lose that guy, you lose them all. Maybe not on the field, but you lose their respect and their drive to win and win together.
Blair’s desire to have Bautista kicked out of town is fueled by the supposed need to amp up a struggling starting pitching rotation that was supposed to be one of the strongest in baseball. What someone can get for Bautista via trade isn’t something that is going to totally turn around your starting five, and it most certainly won’t replace the potential for hitting 40-plus home runs every single season.
The Blue Jays are still sitting pretty with R.A. Dickey, Brandon Morrow, Mark Buehrle, J.A. Happ and Josh Johnson (that is if the Jays actually give him another chance to bring back the nasty stuff he has shown in the past). It takes time. Players need to work on getting on the same page and learn how to complement each other as a rotation.
When that happens, the Blue Jays pitching will provide the poise and Bautista will provide the pop. Sorry Mr. Blair. Keep searching for the answer because that’s not it.