The Blue Jays decided prior to the start of the third game of their four-game series against the Rangers on Wednesday, that Jose Bautista would serve as the leadoff hitter going forward, not Kevin Pillar, MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports.
Pillar has batted leadoff in 58 of the Jays’ 70 games, but he hasn’t hit much, batting .246/.300/.400 with eight home runs and 18 RBI in 305 plate appearances. Bautista hasn’t been much better, batting .221/.333/.403 with 12 home runs and 31 RBI in 300 PA, but he’s better at drawing walks.
The reconfiguration also allows Russell Martin to move to the No. 2 spot followed by Josh Donaldson, Justin Smoak, and Kendrys Morales.
Update (7:51 PM ET): ESPN’s Buster Olney says the deal isn’t final yet. Rosenthal says that any delay on this trade is due to Kinsler’s no-trade clause, but he still expects the deal to happen.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels will acquire second baseman Ian Kinsler from the Tigers. It is not known yet what the Tigers will receive in return. Kinsler had to waive his no-trade clause in order for the deal to happen.
Kinsler, 35, hit .236/.313/.412 with 22 home runs, 52 RBI, 90 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases in 613 plate appearances for the Tigers this past season. He’s in the final year of his contract and will earn $10 million for the 2018 season.
The Angels were certainly looking to upgrade at second base and did so with Kinsler. They were also reportedly interested in Cesar Hernandez of the Phillies.