MLB Trade Rumors: How Do Clubs Evaluate Blue Jays' Jose Bautista?

Bob WarjaSenior Writer IJuly 29, 2010

KANSAS CITY, MO - JULY 21:  Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays watches a fly ball during the game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on July 21, 2010 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

There is no doubt that the Jays' Jose Bautista is having a terrific season in Toronto. Likewise, the Jays seem willing to part with the right fielder.

But just how much should a club be willing to part with for a guy who suddenly comes out of nowhere to post astronomical numbers that are extremely out of line with his career norms?

Look, in the steroid era, we would be very suspicious of a guy like Bautista, who has already hit 30 homers this season after never having hit more than 16 in a season previously.

So, what are we to make of Bautista now? Is he the rare athlete still willing to risk PED testing or has HGH somehow helped him? Or, is he simply finally figuring it out?

Meanwhile, perhaps he is just having a lucky season. No matter what, the issue is are you acquiring a guy who will continue to hit for power, or are you dealing for a guy who is a one-hit wonder?

It matters in terms of what the expected return is for the Jays.

Bautista is drawing more walks than normal, as his .366 OBP is currently the highest of his career. A right-handed hitter, he is actually hitting better against right-handed pitchers.

On the face of it, there is no urgency for Toronto to pursue an extension with Bautista. His $2.4 million salary isn’t a burden on the Jays’ books. 

He will be affordable through salary arbitration next year. He isn’t scheduled to become a free agent until after the 2011 season.

But they always say to sell high, and this is the perfect example of that.

While Bautista has played third base, his range is so bad, according to advanced metrics, that his overall WAR is only 3.4 despite 27.6 in batting.

So what should a team be willing to give up for a guy who plays bad defense and is in the midst of an unprecedented offensive season? 

Not my top prospects. Not yet, anyway.