If the regular season began today, there is a very good chance that Jose Bautista would be playing third base — not right field — for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Unless the Jays acquire another starting infielder between now and Opening Day, one team official believes that Bautista will move from the outfield to third base, where he started 45 games for Toronto last year.
Bautista made 113 starts in right, where a strong throwing arm helped him finish second in the American League with 12 outfield assists. He is coming off a career offensive year, in which he hit a major-league-leading 54 home runs while driving in 124 runs.
Bautista, 30, is entering a season in which he will be scrutinized closely. He is scheduled to become a free agent this fall, so rival executives and scouts will try to determine if he will be worth a lavish long-term contract.
Toronto’s tentative infield also includes Yunel Escobar at shortstop and Aaron Hill at second, with Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion splitting time at first base and designated hitter.
The Jays theoretically could add a second baseman, enabling them to move Hill to third and Bautista to right. There are also a number of remaining free agents who could serve as a designated hitter in the American League.
— Jon Paul Morosi