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MLB Rumor Central: Mets inquire about Jose Bautista

Jose Bautista is expected to turn down the Blue Jays' qualifying offer and test free agency this offseason. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Perhaps bracing for the possibility that Yoenis Cespedes will sign elsewhere as a free agent, the New York Mets have at least inquired about slugger Jose Bautista, James Wagner of the New York Times reports.

Rumor Central

ESPN.com's Adam Rubin addressed the topic, noting that the Mets' priority is re-signing Cespedes. If they don't, they will likely pivot to adding a righty-hitting first baseman/outfielder. Bautista has primarily played in the outfield the past few years, but has some experience at first base as well, including 12 games at the position in 2014.

Bautista, 36, had one of his worst years at the plate in 2016, hitting .234 with 22 home runs and 69 RBIs during an injury-filled campaign. The Blue Jays extended a qualifying offer his way, meaning that he will cost draft-pick compensation if he turns down the one-year, $17.2 million deal.

The Mets are averse to giving Cespedes a longer-term deal and expect him to sign elsewhere for a contract that might exceed $100 million, Rubin writes in an offseason preview for the team.

-- Kyle Brasseur