Last week general manager Jon Daniels admitted that Texas was “very unlikely” to sign Prince Fielder and now Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Rangers “believe they are out of the bidding” for the slugging first baseman.
Fielder met with Rangers officials in Dallas earlier this month, but it’s unclear if talks even reached the offer stage and since then Texas spent $112 million on Yu Darvish.
If the Rangers are indeed out of the mix that seemingly makes the Nationals overwhelming favorites to sign Fielder, although based on various reports that’s probably been the case all along.
It’s possible a team like the Orioles could swoop in with a huge offer, but the Marlins, Mariners, Tigers, and now Rangers are said not to be involved and the usual huge-spending teams don’t really have a big need for Fielder even if they badly wanted him. And it doesn’t hurt that the Nationals’ roster is already packed with prominent Scott Boras clients.
UPDATE: So much for the Nationals. Fielders is reportedly headed to the Tigers.
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.