Despite the recently debunked trade rumor involving Jose Bautista and the Phillies, started by radio personality Howard Eskin, the Blue Jays may still be willing to move him for pitching help according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Cafardo writes that the Jays are looking to add multiple starters. Given the dearth of quality arms available in free agency, acquiring at least one pitcher via trade may make sense for the Jays.
Bautista turned 33 years old last month and is owed $14 million in each of the 2014 and 2015 seasons, quite reasonable for a player of his caliber. However, he has played in fewer than 120 games in each of the past two seasons, suffering from a wrist injury in 2012 and a hip contusion last season.
Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.
OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.
It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.