The National League East is turning into the division race to watch this fall. Many of baseball’s other divisions have all but been decided, so that there is a close race for a division title is going to be a narrative to follow not only because of who is in the running, but also who isn’t.
Currently, the Braves and Phillies are in a battle for supremacy with the Braves currently holding a 3.5 game lead thanks to a recent swoon from Philadelphia. Almost more noteworthy than that is that the Washington Nationals, who were the prohibitive favorites to take the division, are currently at .500 and eight games back and have now assumed the role of spoilers with a very slim chance of reaching the postseason.
Back to the Phillies, though. Their starting pitching has carried them this season, but their offense and defense has been spotty at best. The Phillies acquired Wilson Ramos and Justin Bour recently to try and bolster their lineup, but Bour is now out with an injury and the rest of the lineup has lagged even more of late (Ramos has been quite good). The Phillies, responding to this issue and the fact that they are trending in the wrong direction in the division race, made an interesting move.
Jose Bautista is definitely a sexy name, although the results on the field have not matched that name recognition. Not long removed from being one of the more feared power hitters in the game, Bautista had a terrible stint with the Braves to start his 2018 season before getting picked up by the Mets. Bautista has been better although still not very good with the Mets in slashing .204/.351/.367 in 83 games with the team.
We don’t know the exact terms of the trade, but the return for the Mets is not likely to be much as it is only for a month of Bautista’s services and he has not been very good. As for Philadelphia, they are just hoping to get some semblance of the Joey Bats of old as they try to chase the Braves down in the division.