The Baltimore Orioles are in the market for a right fielder, but they’re not interested in one of the best available options.
Joey Rickard currently is the only right fielder on the O’s depth chart, and the 25-year-old played just 85 games last season after making his Major League Baseball debut on Opening Day. Free agent Jose Bautista reportedly has reached out to the Orioles about signing with them, but general manager Dan Duquette gave the outfielder’s agent a rather unconventional answer to their offer.
“The agent called and I said, ‘Really?’” Duquette told The Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck on Wednesday. “‘Jose is a villain in Baltimore, and I’m not going to go tell our fans that we’re courting Jose Bautista for the Orioles because they’re not going to be happy.’”
There are some reasonable cons of signing Bautista. He’s 36 years old, has struggled with injuries and has never really hit for average despite consistently putting up strong power numbers. But leaving the decision up to the fans when there are only three major league outfielders on your entire roster is an interesting decision for the Orioles, to say the least.
For what it’s worth, Duquette knows a move for Bautista wouldn’t bother the players, but he doubled down on not making the move to appease the fans.
“Our players are very professional about that,” Duquette said. “But our fans, I know they still don’t like Jose Bautista.”
Thumbnail photo via Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports Images