While we wait to see if the Phillies will end up trading aces Cole Hamels and/or Cliff Lee, it sounds likely that reliever Antonio Bastardo will be moved before July 31.
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that at least a handful of teams are interested in Bastardo and have been scouting the left-hander. Last night manager Ryne Sandberg was full of praise for the setup man when speaking to the media, to the point Salisbury noted that “it almost sounded like a sales pitch” to suitors.
Durability and control have been issues for Bastardo over the years, but there’s no denying his ability to dominate. He has a 3.58 ERA and 296 strikeouts in 239 career innings, including a 3.27 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 44 innings this season.
Bastardo is also under team control for 2015 via arbitration, so the Phillies should be able to get more value for him than a typical two-month rental.
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Update (5:55 PM ET): It’s official. The Mets have optioned Phillip Evans to Triple-A Las Vegas to make room for Bautista on the 25-man roster. Bautista will be available for Tuesday’s game against the Marlins.
SNY’s Andy Martino reports that the Mets are close to a deal with free agent Jose Bautista. This doesn’t come as a surprise, as the Mets were rumored to be interested in him on Monday, a day after the Braves released him.
Bautista, 37, struggled to a .593 OPS in 40 plate appearances with the Braves. He’s coming off of his worst season as a regular, as he hit .203 in 157 games last year with the Blue Jays.
Bautista mostly played in the outfield for the Jays, but played third base for the Braves. The Mets need depth at both third base and in the outfield due to injuries to Todd Frazier, Yoenis Cespedes, and Juan Lagares.
It will be interesting to see who loses their roster spot to accomodate Bautista. I suggested earlier it should be Jose Reyes.