The Cleveland Indians have already committed a lot of money to Edwin Encarnacion, but another expensive player was on the team’s radar.
The Cleveland Indians surprised fans by shelling out the money to acquire Edwin Encarnacion, but the rumors of more spending heated up this weekend.
Ken Rosenthal wrote a piece this weekend that said the Indians are remaining in touch with Jose Bautista‘s camp about a potential deal. The article doesn’t say the two sides are in serious talks, but it is an interesting story.
Signing Encarnacion seemed to be the end of the spending for now, but the Indians are in full-on World Series mode after nearly winning it all last season. Adding a player like Bautista would only help, at least on paper.
But the rumors seem to be gone, as the Blue Jays are set to retain their star, according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.
But while the addition of Bautista was an interesting scenario for Indians fans to consider, it wasn’t a realistic one for the Indians right now.
Some made the argument that there is no room for him, but that is just silly. If the Indians brought Bautista to town, there would be room made for him. A player like Lonnie Chisenhall is not going to get time over an All-Star like Bautista, at least at the start.
A real reason why it was not realistic is that Bautista would not come cheap. The Indians already had to decide between Encarnacion and Mike Napoli, so it doesn’t seem like Bautista would come at a price that the Indians could afford.
Even with the money problems, the Indians may have been willing to offer a major contract if Bautista was younger, but he will be 36 years old when the 2017 season begins. And after a 2016 season in which he hit .234 with only 22 home runs, it would be hard to give him the $14 million per year he has received from the Toronto Blue Jays since 2012.
Bautista declined a $17.2 million qualifying offer from the Blue Jays earlier in the offseason, and that figure alone seems to be out of the Indians’ price range. The Blue Jays are likely going to pay somewhere in that range, but the team has plenty of room after losing Encarnacion to the Indians.
So while adding a star like Jose Bautista would be exciting, it just isn’t realistic for the Indians after already acquiring Encarnacion and spending a lot on players like Carlos Santana, Andrew Miller, Cody Allen, and Corey Kluber.
There was nothing wrong with staying in talks with Bautista, but this Indians team already seems set to compete for another World Series title with the current talent on the roster. Adding another outsider may have done more harm than good, especially if the price tag is too expensive.