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Report: Mets interested in Jose Bautista

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Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that the Mets are potentially interested in signing 3B/OF Jose Bautista.

Bautista, 37, was released by the Braves on Sunday. He played in 12 major league games this season, batting a disappointing .143/.250/.343 with a pair of home runs and five RBI across 40 plate appearances. Mostly an outfielder during his days with the Blue Jays, Bautista played third base for the Braves.

Mets third baseman Todd Frazier has been on the disabled list with a strained hamstring, so Wilmer Flores and Jose Reyes have been handling the position in his absence. Reyes has really struggled, posting a .367 OPS over 56 PA. Additionally, the Mets are also light on outfielders as Yoenis Cespedes is on the DL with a hip injury and Juan Lagares is expected to miss the rest of the season with a foot injury. Bautista could add depth both at third base and in the outfield.

Hunter Pence is mashing for the Rangers

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Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.

Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.

Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.

What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.

That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.