The Blue Jays made Bautista a qualifying offer, which means the Phillies would forfeit their second-round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, plus the accompanying bonus allotment (more than $1 million) to sign him. That makes little sense for a rebuilding team, which is why Philadelphia remains focused on free-agent outfielders like Brandon Moss and Michael Saunders, both of whom could be potentially had on one-year deals. The Phils also continue to follow potential trade partners like the Mets, who could unload right fielder Jay Bruce.
If the Phillies acquire Moss, Saunders, Bruce or somebody else not named Bautista or Mark Trumbo (who received a qualifying offer from the Orioles), it likely would mean Roman Quinn, the Phils' No. 7 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, starts the season in Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
The Phillies view Quinn as an everyday player, so having him sit on the bench in the big leagues makes little sense, especially because he has missed so much time over the years with injuries.
Quinn needs regular at-bats, either with the Phils or the IronPigs.
But there should be an opportunity for Quinn in the big leagues at some point. If left fielder Howie Kendrick or Player X (Moss, Saunders, Bruce, etc.) plays well, one or both could be traded before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Quinn could step in at that point.
Quinn also figures to have an opportunity if there is an injury. He likely would be the first callup if something happens to outfielders Odubel Herrera, Kendrick or someone else. He also could be the first callup if there is an injury to first baseman Tommy Joseph or second baseman Cesar Hernandez.
In those scenarios, Kendrick would move from left field to first base or second base, opening up a spot for Quinn in left.
So Quinn could still get his shot in 2017, even if Philadelphia finds another everyday outfielder before Spring Training. It just might not happen immediately.
Of course, it is far from a certainty the Phillies will find an everyday outfielder in the next six weeks. If they don't acquire one, Quinn is the heavy favorite to be their Opening Day right fielder, with Aaron Altherr also in the mix.
And then the only trick for Quinn is to produce and stay healthy.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.