Don’t think the unthinkable hasn’t at least crossed into the minds of Texas Rangers officials, who are smart enough to realize that Jose Bautista the baseball player would be a wonderful fit in their lineup.
He’s a power-hitting right fielder who would get on base, drive in runs and strike fear in opposing pitchers. He wouldn’t kill the Rangers defensively, either.
They would be better with him in their lineup. But there’s that other stuff, and because of it the Rangers have no interest in Bautista.
Bautista, of course, wouldn’t fit in the clubhouse. Think Chris Farley in David Spade’s sports coat. It’s not just that May brawl in which Rougned Odor socked Bautista and caused benches to clear. Well, it’s mostly that, but Bautista wasn’t a clubhouse fit well before that.
He is disliked by players across the game. Fans hate him, too, so much so that Baltimore Orioles general manager Dan Duquette had to tell Jay Alou, Bautista’s agent, that they couldn’t sign Bautista because of the potential fan uproar.
Give Alou credit for trying to find his client a free-agent deal. He’s no dummy. He knows which teams would be a fit and has called them.
Yes, that includes the Rangers.
A baseball source, though, said that the conversations went nowhere and won’t go any further. Bautista might have to return to Toronto, where fans adore him and the Blue Jays tolerate him.
He won’t be signing for anything close to the $30 million per year he said last spring that he expected this off-season. He has more than just his charming personality working against him. He’s getting old and is coming off an injury-plagued season, so a long-term deal could be difficult to come by.
Any kind of deal with the Rangers will be difficult to come by.