UPDATE: Sure enough, Jackson appears headed to St. Louis for Rasmus.
The deal sending Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen to the Blue Jays for Jason Frasor and pitching prospect Zach Stewart is official, with Jackson learning of his fate after entering the White Sox clubhouse moments ago.
However, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com and various other sources the trade may actually be expanding to include the Cardinals, with Jackson heading to St. Louis and Colby Rasmus ending up in Toronto.
Rasmus leaving the Cardinals is expected at this point, but Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos somehow getting a 24-year-old center fielder with huge upside in a deal that essentially has him parting with a good but not great 33-year-old reliever (Frasor) and a mid-level prospect (Stewart) would be an amazing move.
So good, in fact, that it’s tough to imagine Anthopoulos being able to pull it off without sending another prospect or something else of decent value to St. Louis. For now Jackson is Blue Jays property, but it sure looks like he’s not long for Toronto.
José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.
Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”
In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”
Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”
Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:
Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”
I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.