Is This the End of Joey Bats?

Photo Credit: David Santiago | Toronto Star

by: Eric Boston @EricBoston3

Jose Bautista was released by the Atlanta Braves on Sunday.

The six-time All-Star slugger was signed to a Minor League deal on April 18. The more surprising part of that news was that the Braves were going to attempt to play Bautista at third base.

Braves General Manager Alex Anthopoulos was very familiar with Bautista from his time with the Toronto Blue Jays and believed that he could handle the hot corner (even without playing the position since 2011). It is no surprise that the now 37-year old put up negative defensive numbers in Atlanta.

While he did flash some of his signature pop for the Braves, 2 home runs in 40 plate appearances, his two week run with the team ended with a .143/.250/.343 slash line and a 30% strikeout rate.

There was an obvious reason as to why Joey Bats remained on the free agent market into the start of the season. He has simply been a fragment of his former self since the 2016 season. The belief is that he wants to continue playing, but I would be shocked if he did so in the MLB. Anthopoulos did say that the team would be open to Bautista returning to their Triple-A club, but even that seems like a waste of a roster space.

What is surprising is that the Braves passed up other third base options, most notably Mike Moustakas, during the off-season. Now there is talk of Atlanta looking to trade for the Kansas City third baseman before the non-waiver deadline. It seems that the team could have saved themselves some hassle and signed Moose during the winter.

Gambles may pay off sometimes, but this experiment appeared destined to fail from the beginning. Bautista was never going to provide a team with surprise playoff hopes any more than a small amount of pop in their lineup. He strikes out a ton and offers nothing on the defensive side of the game. Not to mention his lack of anything that resembles speed.

Still, Jose (if this is indeed it) will finish his big league career with a slash line of .249/.361/.480 and 333 home runs in parts of 15 seasons.

1 comment:

  1. His best hit came literally at the hands of Rougned Odor!