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Report: Rays interested in Jose Bautista

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Jon Morosi reports that the Rays have interest in veteran free agent outfielder Jose Bautista. Morosi notes that the Rays spoke to Bautista last offseason before he eventually decided to re-sign with the Blue Jays.

Bautista, 37, is coming off of a miserable 2017 campaign in which he hit .203/.308/.366 with 23 home runs and 65 RBI in 686 plate appearances. Bautista’s rate stats, for the most part, have been in decline for the last four seasons.

Bautista’s agent, Jay Alou, said Bautista is willing to play corner infield as well as corner outfield and DH, Morosi reports. The Rays surely like that, given their tendency to value versatility and their habit of moving players around the diamond.

Tony Clark: Universal DH ‘gaining momentum’ among players

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Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark met the press late this morning and covered a wide array of topics.

One of them: free agency, which he referred to as being “under attack” based on the slow market for free agents last offseason.

“What the players saw last offseason was that their free-agent rights were under attack on what has been the bedrock of our system,” Clark said. He added that they “have some very difficult decisions to make.” Presumably in the form of grievances and, down the road, a negotiating strategy that seeks to claw back some of the many concessions the union has given owners in the past few Collective Bargaining Agreements. CBAs, it’s worth noting, that Clark negotiated. We’ve covered that territory in detail in the past.

Of more immediate interest was Clark’s comment that the idea of a universal designated hitter is, among players, “gaining momentum.” Clark says “players are talking about it more than they have in the past.” We’ve talked a lot about that as well.

Given that hating or loving the DH is the closest thing baseball has to a religion, no one’s mind is going to be changed by any of this, but I think, practically speaking, it’s inevitable that the National League will have the DH and I think it happens relatively soon. Perhaps in the next five years. The opposition to it at this point is solely subjective and based on tradition. People like pitchers batting and they like double switches and they like the leagues being different because they, well, like it. If the system were being set up today, however, they’d never have it this way and I think even the DH-haters know that well. That doesn’t mean that you can’t dislike a universal DH, but it does mean that you can’t expect the people who run the game to cater to that preference when it makes little sense for them to do it for their own purposes.

Anyway, enjoy convincing each other in the comments about how the side of that argument you dislike is wrong.