The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo does a bang-up job during hot stove season and he has an article today about 2010’s biggest breakout star, Jose Bautista.
Bautista, 30, posted a stellar 995 OPS and 124 RBI this past season while leading all major leaguers with 54 home runs. He’s in line for a big payday this winter via salary arbitration, so it would seem that the Jays might have interest in discussing a long-term contract with the slugger. But, as of now, no such negotiations have taken place.
“Right now, there are no talks about a multiyear contract, but I suppose we may hear something about that in December,” he told Cafardo. “We have a great team and if our players and pitching can take the next step, we’re going to be a team that can go for the AL East title.”
Why no talks? Because the Blue Jays probably have the same concerns that the rest of us have. Bautista never hit more than 16 home runs in a season before this year and batted just .235/.349/.408 in 2009. It’s not all that rare for players to suddenly blossom in their late 20s and early 30s (Ryan Ludwick comes to mind), but Bautista has all the leverage right now because of his impressive 2010 numbers and it’s fair that the Jays have their doubts about his ability to post consistent MVP-like stats.
The Cardinals announced on Wednesday that shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been optioned to Triple-A Memphis and infielder Alex Mejia’s contract has been purchased from Memphis.
Diaz, 26, impressed last season when he posted an .879 OPS and finished fifth in National League Rookie of the Year balloting. This year has been rough on Diaz, as he’s batting .260/.293/.396 with seven home runs and 20 RBI in 288 plate appearances. He’s the second major Cardinals player to get sent down to the minors along with Randal Grichuk.
Diaz was surprised by the demotion. Via MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch:
Mejia, 26, opened the season with Double-A Springfield but was promoted to Triple-A two weeks ago. With Springfield, he hit .251/.305/.366 in 251 PA. In 42 PA with Memphis, he hit .263/.333/.289.
With just over a month to go before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, trade rumors are beginning to crop up. According to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports, the Red Sox and Yankees have each reached out to the Marlins about infielder Martin Prado.
The Marlins enter play Wednesday 35-40 and in third place in the NL East. They are expected to continue to sell after trading shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria to the Rays. However, as the club itself is in the middle of rumors with a handful of prospective new owners, major pieces like Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich probably won’t be moved until that is settled.
Prado, 33, is hitting .277/.299/.398 with two home runs and nine RBI in 87 plate appearances. He has played in only 21 games due to calf and hamstring injuries. When he’s healthy, though, he is typically productive and he can play all four infield positions as well as the outfield corners. Prado is under contract for the next two seasons as well, at $13.5 million and $15 million.
With either the Red Sox or Yankees, Prado would likely assume third base. The Red Sox have gotten a major league-worst .562 out of its third basemen while the Yankees have gotten a .678 OPS, 24th out of 30 teams.