Some pretty significant news to pass along on this Christmas Eve afternoon.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, “all signs and top MLB sources” say that the Athletics will be granted permission by February to move to San Jose.
Of course, the A’s efforts to move have been stonewalled since 2009 so that a Bud Selig-appointed committee could study the matter. The Giants own the territorial rights to San Jose and have been reluctant to give them up until now.
While Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported last month that Selig planned to address the issue with the Giants within two weeks, he reported last night that the meeting has yet to take place. However, Nightengale indicates that the matter may be put up to a vote among MLB owners.
The Athletics are in the midst of their latest rebuilding effort, trading Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez for prospects over the past couple of weeks. The club has already purchased land in San Jose and co-owner Lew Wolff has indicated that a new ballpark could be open for business within 30-36 months once they are given approval by MLB.
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.