Instead of recapping day three at the Winter Meetings, I’m going to take a different approach here this morning. Yesterday, the Orioles didn’t make any moves, and there were very few topics discussed. Although, a big one came up, yet again, and it set off a firestorm of tweets.
Dan Duquette confirmed that he does not want to sign Jose Bautista because of the fans not liking him. As a matter of fact, he specifically said, “Jose Bautista’s agent has been knocking on the Orioles door for a while and I told him, ‘Look, our fans don’t really like Jose Bautista’.”
Here’s a few of the best tweets I found from yesterday:
Now before I get into this too much, let me just tell you, I am NOT in favor of signing Jose Bautista. As I said yesterday Bautista has never been an outstanding defender, and he is thirty-six years old, and only getting older.
Dan Duquette just flat out used fan hatred to say the Orioles aren’t going to try to sign Bautista. Instead of the first reason the O’s wouldn’t engage in conversation being, “we’re looking for a younger player”, or “he just doesn’t fit our game plan this offseason”, he instead cited fans’ distain as the reason he wouldn’t net a contract from them.
Later in the day though, he did say how Bautista has a qualifying offer “attached to him”.
A signing would cost a draft pick.
I want to say that in the event that the Orioles were to go and converse with the Bautista camp, and actually sign him, I can all but guarantee the majority of the fan base would accept Bautista IF he produced in Baltimore. Not without a few Opening Day boos of course.
There’s not a single fan out there though, that would loathe Bautista if he helped this team get to a World Series. Not a chance. And if you think that the players that have had problems with Bautista in the past (Adam Jones, and Darren O’Day), would still have indifferences with him, you’re sadly mistaken. These guys are professionals, and they know that they need to work together on a nightly basis.
Think of Roger Dorn, after finding out Ricky Vaughn had a little extra curricular activity with his wife. ((**NSFW ALERT**))
In 2013, then Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price did not take kindly to the way that Boston Red Sox DH, David Ortiz, trotted around the base paths after hitting two home runs off of him. Price had just one word for Ortiz after that game, “run”. In their first meeting of 2014, Price promptly plunked Ortiz, effectively declaring “war”. Price also said of Ortiz during the All-Star game in 2015 that Ortiz had “lost a step”. And then, Price was signed by the Boston Red Sox. There weren’t any punches, or any arguments. Instead, there was this:
Price went 17-9 last season with the Red Sox, and pitched to a 3.99 ERA in 35 starts. He led the league in innings pitched, however, still takes some heat from Sox fans for not being able to win in the postseason. A 2-7 postseason record (although just one loss in Boston) is very unsettling with Fenway faithful.
If the Orioles don’t want to go after Bautista, okay, fine. I get it. He’s too expensive, or he’s too old. Sure. The way that it was initially presented though, is as if it’s the fans fault that the Orioles don’t want to sign a “big name player”. This could very easily be mis-construed at the end of next season as all fans’ fault that the O’s didn’t bring in Bautista after he potentially has a re-bound year in 2017.
Tell fans you don’t have the payroll to meet his requirements. Tell fans you aren’t interested. Tell fans he has offers elsewhere. Anything but what has already been said. It doesn’t come across respectable at all.