As the Yankees continue their hunt for an additional outfielder, they can probably rule out one particular target. According to Jon Heyman, the Mets are “extremely unlikely” to trade Jose Bautista to the Bronx.
Bautista, 37, struggled to find a home over the winter. He latched on to the Atlanta Braves after the season started and played poorly for them. While playing third base, Bautista hit .143/.250/.343 with two home runs. Shortly thereafter, Atlanta designated him for assignment, and Joey Bats soon found himself on the Mets.
Since arriving in New York, however, Bautista has played well enough. He’s slashing .228/.376/.414 with six home runs, good for a 122 wRC+. As Heyman notes, the Mets intend to market him as an above average bat and seek a return to match that. He also points to the difficulty in swinging a crosstown trade.
This development is significant for two reasons. First, it should allow the Yankees to move on to other targets. They’ve been connected to a plethora of outfielders, including Curtis Granderson, Cameron Maybin, and Andrew McCutchen. There also exists the possibility of Bryce Harper getting moved. Brian Cashman has plenty of fallback options, many of whom are better than Bautista.
Second, and perhaps more illuminating, is the Mets’ continued reluctance to trade with the Yankees. At a time when trades between rivals are becoming increasingly commonplace – the Orioles traded with New York! – the Mets still hold out. This goes to show that a deal for Noah Syndergaard or Jacob deGrom never had a real chance at coming to fruition, and that’s a shame.