Mets trade Jose Bautista to Phillies

New York nets either cash or player to be named in return

August 28th, 2018

CHICAGO -- Following three months of production and versatility at a time when many of their veteran alternatives were sidelined, the Mets thanked on Tuesday with a trade to a contender. The team dealt Bautista to the Phillies for cash or a player to be named after Philadelphia claimed him on revocable waivers.
The trade, Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said, "was really less about the return we got" and more about the team's desire "to do right by Jose," giving the 15-year veteran another crack at a title. In addition, parting ways with Bautista opens up playing time for , and in the outfield.
Nimmo returned from an 11-day stay on the disabled list Tuesday, while Smith is likely to receive a callup in the coming days.
"A big part of the deal was freeing up that space," Ricco said.
Bautista, 37, hit .204 with nine home runs and a .718 OPS in 83 games after the Mets signed him to a prorated minimum contract in May. Although Bautista helped the Mets patch together lineups on a daily basis, playing five positions, he was a pending free agent unlikely to return to New York. That gave the Mets little incentive to keep him as they look to give as many at-bats as possible to their younger players down the stretch.
"He came to us at a time when we had some injuries and needed some stability," Ricco said. "He not only provided that, but did a lot more."
For the Phillies, Bautista offers cheap right-handed bench power for the stretch run. The Mets previously sent infielder to the Phils on July 28 for pitching prospect .
Bautista will become just the third player to appear for three teams in one division in a single season, joining Kelly Johnson (Red Sox, Yankees and Orioles in 2014) and Bob Reynolds (Tigers, Indians and Orioles in 1975).
"The leadership that he brings, the quality at-bats, I feel like he plays really solid defense at multiple positions," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said Monday when asked of Bautista's attributes. "I can definitely see why somebody would want to snatch him up and give him a chance to be on a contending team."
Best known for a 10-year run in Toronto that saw him reach second place in Blue Jays history with 288 home runs, Bautista has gone deep 342 times overall in a 15-year career spent mostly with Toronto and Pittsburgh. He remains particularly effective against left-handed pitchers, reaching base at a .362 clip against them this year.
Although the non-waiver Trade Deadline passed July 31, teams can still trade players after that date if they pass them through revocable waivers. Claimed players, such as Bautista, can be dealt only to the claiming team. Unclaimed players can be traded anywhere.
The caveat is that traded players are only eligible for the postseason with their new team if they're already in that organization before Sept. 1, making Friday a de facto second trade deadline. It is rare that clubs out of the postseason picture acquire veterans on waiver deals.
"Being able to move him to a contender ... it allows Jose a chance to participate in a pennant race and ultimately chase a World Series ring," Ricco said.