Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Blue Jays and the representatives of free agent outfielder Jose Bautista are currently engaged in active contract discussions.
This comes as no surprise as Bautista’s market has been slow to develop. He rejected the Blue Jays’ $17.2 million qualifying offer. The draft pick compensation attached to him, combined with his age and a relatively down year this past season are all contributing to Bautista’s prolonged free agency. The Blue Jays, of course, would not have to relinquish a draft pick to bring Bautista back.
Bautista, 36, hit .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI in 517 plate appearances in 2016.
The Blue Jays lost slugger Edwin Encarnacion to free agency (Indians) so bringing Bautista back would help mitigate what would otherwise be a significant loss of offense.
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.