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Although both have been to many All-Star Games and have led their clubs to successive postseason appearances, neither has rated highly in this winter’s free-agent market. Outfielder Jose Bautista and second baseman Brandon Phillips could well write some intriguing stories, considering the teams that have shown at least minimal interest in them.

The Rangers are looking to add some power from the designated hottest spot, which is currently held by Shin Soo Choo with his left hand. Bautista would serve as a great platoon with Choo, while also providing a power threat with a right hand in the middle of the lineup.

Given the team’s dire need for an additional slugger, Jose Bautista is likely to sign with Texas, which would make for a controversial deal. It was against Texas two years ago that Bautista was embroiled in a fight with one of his fan favorites, resulting in suspensions for both Bautista and Rangers second baseman Roughned Odor.

Since that ruckus, it hasn’t been surprising that Bautista has been rudely greeted every time he steps up to the plate in Texas. It’s also no surprise that a fellow free agent received similarly nasty reactions from the home of a rival NL team.

Brandon Philips could find himself in St. Louis, whose fans have been booing him for nearly an entire decade after his confrontation with future Hall of Fame wide receiver Yadier Molina. It was in 2011 when Phillips, who became Cincinnati’s leadoff hitter, bunt Molina’s shin guard and immediately both benches emptied.

With the Cardinals looking for safety at second base, as well as veteran competition for Kolten Wong, St. Louis could look to Phillips. Once considered the long-term solution at second base, Wong has struggled the past two seasons. Competing for playing time against a Gold Glove veteran like Phillips could light a spark in Wong.

Despite the long-standing animosity between Phillips and the fans in St. Louis, he would bring a much-needed veteran voice to the middle of the Cardinals’ infield. Given his willingness to play third base last season with both the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels, Phillips could also provide depth in St. Louis’ hot corner.

Such signings would be considered under the radar, given that both players are in the twilight of their careers. Still, Bautista and Phillips could really improve their respective teams and hopefully put an end to the hostile cheering from those fans.

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