Although both of them have been in many All-Star games as well as having led their clubs to successive postseason appearances, neither one has been rated high on this winter’s free agent market. Outfielder Jose Bautista and second baseman Brandon Phillips could very well write some intriguing stories, considering the teams who have indicated at least a modicum of interest in them.
The Rangers are looking to add some power from the designated hotter spot, which is currently held by left handed hitting Shin soo Choo. Bautista would serve as a great platoon with Choo, while also providing a right handed power threat in the middle of the lineup.
Because of the team’s dire need for an additional slugger Jose Bautista could very likely sign with Texas, which would make for a controversial transaction. Of was against Texas two years ago that Bautista became embroiled in a slugfest with one of its fan favorites, resulting in suspensions for both Bautista and Rangers second baseman Roughned Odor.
Since that brouhaha, it has not been surprising that Bautista is greeted rudely each time he steps to the plate in Texas. Nor is it surprising that a fellow free agent has received similarly unwelcoming reactions from a rival team’s home in the National League.
Brandon Philips could find himself in St. Louis, whose fans have been booing him for almost an entire decade after his confrontation with future Hall of Fame catcher Yadier Molina. It was back in 2011 when Phillips, stepping up as Cincinnati’s first hitter, issued a bat tap to Molina’s shin guard and immediately both benches emptied.
Because the Cardinals are looking for security at second base, as well as veteran competition for Kolten Wong, St. Louis might pursue Phillips. Once deemed the long term solution at second, Wong has struggled the past two seasons. Vying for playing time against a Gold Glove veteran like Phillips could ignite a spark in Wong.
In spite of the long ago animosity between Phillips and the fans in St. Louis, he would bring a much needed veteran voice to the middle of the Cardinals infield. Because of his willingness to play third base last season with both the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels, Phillips could also provide depth at the hot corner for St. Louis.
Such signings would be considered under the radar, given that both players are in the twilights of their careers. Still, Bautista and Phillips could really improve their respective teams, and hopefully put an end to the unfriendly greetings from those fans.