Former Toronto Blue Jays player, Jose Bautista is getting one more chance in the league as a third baseman with the Atlanta Braves. After missing spring training, Bautista mentioned that he would still like to return to baseball. It wasn’t likely that he return– as Bautista seemed to be on the tail-end of his career. Now, with the minor league deal offered by the Braves, Bautista will suit up as a third baseman for extended spring training, and a chance to earn a roster spot.
Bautista’s contract is only minor league, and if added to the Braves’ forty-man roster, he would receive a one-year, $1 million contract deal. Of course, Bautista is expected to head to Florida for extended spring training to see if he can return to game form. If the signing works out for the Atlanta Braves, and Bautista returns to top form, this is one heck of a budget maneuver from Braves GM, Alex Anthopoulous as Bautista earned an $18 million dollar salary in his last year with the Jays.
The signing of Bautista comes as a shock to many in the league, as the Braves were expected to fill their empty third base roster spot with minor league outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. Keeping currently hot Ryan Flaherty right where he is, at third base. GM Alex Anthopoulous (who happened to be the Jays’ GM back when Bautista made it big) made the shocking roster move early Wednesday. At 37 years old, it wasn’t expected that Bautista sign with another organization after 14 seasons of baseball. Much less, he certainly wasn’t expected to sign with the Atlanta Braves. The shock comes especially because Bautista hasn’t played a ton of time at third base. Or at least, not since his time with the Pittsburg Pirates or during his early years with Toronto.
Jose Bautista left the Toronto Blue Jays in 2017 and after disappointing two seasons; the Blue Jays declined his contract option in early November, 2017. Bautista was unsigned until yesterday. During his 14 years in the league, Bautista scored 331 career home runs, breaking the league’s home run record in 2010-11. Though the 2016-2017 seasons were disappointing for Bautista, he was still able to maintain a .366 OBP. If Bautista can prove he is back into playing shape over the course of extended spring training, this could be the best budget (if not the most interesting) move from the Braves organization.
Bautista’s deal is a low-risk, minor-league deal that protects the organization and adds depth to the Roster. If Jose Bautista can make an impressive showing this spring and return to his hitting form from 2010-11, he could again prove to be one of the best hitters in the league; helping out the unlikely Atlanta Braves.