Jose Bautista isn’t ready to call it quits just yet. The Phillies outfielder told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he still intends to suit up in 2019, and hopes to do so for a contending team. His contract is set to expire at the end of the regular season, at which point he’ll test free agency for the third time this year.
It hasn’t exactly been a banner year for the 37-year-old, however, and finding a home among the league’s top contenders may prove more difficult than expected. Bautista currently carries a cumulative .199/.340/.370 batting line, 12 home runs, and a .711 OPS through 385 plate appearances for the Braves, Mets, and Phillies, and while he’s found the most success in Philadelphia this year, he’s far removed from the 40+ homer, .250+ average slugger of days gone by.
That said, offense isn’t everything, and Rosenthal points out how valuable Bautista has been to NL East teams over the last few months, both in his defensive versatility and the mentorship he’s provided to younger players on the roster. This season alone, he’s seen games at first, second, and third base, as well as both outfield corners — showcasing the kind of flexibility that may make him an intriguing addition to another major league roster next year.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.
Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.
Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.
The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.