With a shortage of outfielders and no timetable for Yoenis Cespedes to return from the disabled list, the Mets are discussing signing veteran Jose Bautista, according to sources.
Bautista, who was released by the Braves on Sunday, could make a decision on his new team by Tuesday, according to a source.
Bautista, 37, went 5-for-35 (.143) with two home runs in 12 games for the Braves. The onetime Met farmhand played third base for Atlanta, but most of his career has been as an outfielder.
Bautista has 333 career home runs. In 2017, he hit .203 with 23 HRs for Toronto before being unwanted on the free-agent market. He signed a minor-league deal with Atlanta on April 18.
Cespedes (hip flexor strain) is eligible to come off the disabled list on Thursday, but manager Mickey Callaway didn’t make it seem as if that is likely on Monday.
“I’m not sure at this point,” Callaway said. “He’s just getting treatment right now.”
The Mets are strapped for righthanded-hitting outfielders with the injuries to Cespedes and Juan Lagares (toe ligament tear), who likely will miss the rest of the season.
At the moment, the Mets have an all-lefty starting outfield of Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto and Jay Bruce. Utilityman Phillip Evans is on the roster and Callaway also has talked about using Wilmer Flores or Jose Reyes in the outfield. First-base prospect Dominic Smith has started playing some rightfield for Triple-A Las Vegas.
Bautista, whose nickname is “Joey Bats,” was the Blue Jays rightfielder from 2008-2017 and hit 54 home runs in 2010. He has fallen off since a 40-home run 2015 and had to scrounge for a job in the offseason like many veteran sluggers.
Bautista was called up to Atlanta on May 4 as part of an odd third-base experiment. But the Braves cut him loose after 40 plate appearances.
The Mets’ interest in Bautista was first reported by the New York Post.