All eyes will be on Jose Bautista’s performance at the plate this year as he tries to follow up an out of nowhere 54-homer season, but Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos indicated yesterday that he’ll likely also be playing third base full time after being mostly a right fielder in 2010.
Anthopoulos told Shi Davidi of the Canadian Press that the Blue Jays’ plans for Bautista could change if they sign or trade for another third baseman yet this winter, as his defensive versatility allows them to widen the search for another bat, but short of that they’re “comfortable” playing him full time at third base.
Bautista made 113 starts in right field and 45 starts at third base last season, but has played nearly 3,000 career innings at the hot corner and was a full-time third baseman in 2007 and most of 2008. Assuming he’s a third baseman the Blue Jays’ projected starting outfielders are Vernon Wells, Travis Snider, and Rajai Davis, so Anthopoulos would presumably still like to acquire someone who could push Davis into a part-time role.
The Reds picked up outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera on minor league deals, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports. Both Williams and Herrera will receive invites to spring training and could compete for backup outfield roles behind Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton and Scott Schebler.
Williams, 26, completed a three-year track with the Yankees in 2017. He has yet to see a full season of playing time, however, and went 4-for-17 with two stolen bases during a five-game span with the club in 2017. While not a power hitter, his speed and steady contact rate produced a .263/.309/.318 batting line over 437 plate appearances in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, including two home runs, three triples and 19 stolen bases.
Herrera, 25, has yet to make his big league debut. After seven years in the Rockies’ system, he finally reached Triple-A Albuquerque in 2017 and slashed .278/.351/.394 with three home runs and 20 stolen bases in 363 PA. He looks most comfortable in the left field corner, but has some experience at shortstop and third base and should give the Reds a nice utility option come spring.