Phils claim Bautista, working on deal with Mets

August 27th, 2018

CHICAGO -- The Mets are working on a trade of outfielder to the Phillies after Philadelphia claimed him on Monday on revocable waivers, a source confirmed. The clubs have until Tuesday to work out a deal.

Bautista, 37, is batting .207 with nine home runs and a .724 OPS in 82 games since the Mets signed him to a prorated minimum contract in May. Although Bautista has helped the club patch together lineups on a daily basis, playing five positions, he is a pending free agent unlikely to return to New York. That gives 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.

For the Phillies, Bautista offers cheap right-handed bench power for the stretch run. The Mets previously sent infielder to the Phils last month for right-handed pitcher , ranked as New York's No. 5 prospect by MLB Pipeline.

If Bautista, who also played for the Braves this season, is dealt, he would 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).

But as of Monday afternoon, no deal was done, prompting manager Mickey Callaway -- after discussion with the Mets' front office -- to insert Bautista into his starting lineup. Although Callaway said he could not discuss the reported waiver claim, he noted that he wanted Bautista's bat in the lineup against left-hander "to make sure we have the best chance to win."

"The leadership that he brings, the quality at-bats, I feel like he plays really solid defense at multiple positions," Callaway said 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."

Bautista, citing the fluid nature of the situation, declined comment. If the Mets and Phillies cannot work out a deal, the Mets can still pull Bautista off waivers, forfeiting the chance to trade him this season.

Best known for a 10-year run with the Blue Jays that saw him reach second place in franchise 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 .373 clip against them this year. But Bautista is hitting just .163 through 23 August games.

Although the non-waiver Trade Deadline passed on 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.