Phillies hope slugger Bautista is what gets them into October
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia Phillies acquired veteran slugger Jose Bautista from the New York Mets on Tuesday for a player to be named or cash.
Bautista has batted .196 with 11 homers and 42 RBIs for the Braves and Mets this season. The Phillies entered Tuesday night’s game against Washington 3½ games behind first-place Atlanta in the NL East.
A six-time All-Star for Toronto from 2010-15, the 37-year-old Bautista has 342 career homers. The right-handed hitter is expected to come off the bench for the Phillies and was going to be available to play against the Nationals. He has started in the outfield, third base and first base this season.
“He’s going to be a veteran presence in the dugout and in the clubhouse,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “A major part of his role (is) how intelligent he is. He sees the game differently than anyone we have on our roster right now. He’s very good at picking up tells and figuring out which of our pitchers and opposing pitchers are tipping, and he’s going to share that with our clubhouse.”
Philadelphia has been active, acquiring infielder Asdrubal Cabrera and two-time All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos last month, then first baseman Justin Bour and lefty reliever Luis Avilan in August.
Right-hander Mark Leiter Jr. was designated for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster for Bautista and catcher Andrew Knapp was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Bautista joins his third NL East team this year. Philadelphia will be his eighth club overall in 15 major league seasons.
“He came to us at a time where we had some injuries and needed some stability and I think he not only provided that but did a lot more,” Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said on a conference call. “This trade was really less about the return we got and more about a couple of other aspects.
“One, it allows us to clear out some playing time for some of our other younger guys,” Ricco added. “The second part, I think, was about doing the right thing by Jose. You know, he’s a veteran player who came to us and, as I said, did a nice job both on and off the field. By being able to move him to a contender, albeit one in our division, but to a contender, it allows Jose a chance to participate in a pennant race and ultimately chase a World Series ring.”
To fill Bautista’s roster spot, the fourth-place Mets planned to reinstate outfielder Brandon Nimmo from the 10-day disabled list before Tuesday night’s game in Chicago against the Cubs. Nimmo had been sidelined by a bruised left index finger.