Take a look at the Major League home run leaderboard. What names do you see? Miguel Cabrera. That's normal. Josh Hamilton. Makes sense. Joey Votto. Yeah, he's a really good young player. But the name at the very top should come as a surprise: Jose Bautista, who leads everyone with 26 dingers. His previous career best was 2006's 15.
The Blue Jays third baseman is having a breakthrough season at the age of 29, and with the Jays going nowhere this year, it should come as little surprise that Bautista is interesting a lot of teams in pursuit of some cheap power. Tweets Jeff Passan:
Bautista has just about $1m left on his 2010 salary, and with arbitration is looking at something in the neighborhood of $6m or $8m in 2011, making him one of the more affordable power bats around if you take his power gains to be real. At that kind of price, it's easy to see why he's appealing, and it's easy to see why the Jays are reportedly asking for a lot in return.
A reason for skepticism is that Bautista isn't a great defender, and never hit at a level anywhere close to this one prior to 2010. Still, it's clear that he could represent a short-term improvement for a number of contenders.