A lack of MLB free agency options is what led slugger Jose Bautista to the Atlanta Braves. The perennial MLB all-star’s first at-bat with the Braves left a good impression.
Jose Bautista hit a double (courtesy of MLB.com) his first time up with the Atlanta Braves. Bautista made his Braves debut on Saturday, just two weeks after he signed a minor league contract (courtesy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution) with Atlanta.
The Atlanta Braves are one of the many MLB teams which get to take advantage of a slow-moving offseason. By signing Jose Bautista to a minor league contract, the Braves saved money, while getting a player determined to prove that the free agency market grossly misjudged his value.
Jose Bautista is only a couple of years removed from helping the Toronto Blue Jays get to the postseason as one of their primary hitters. There is still some power in Bautista’s bat, despite what his 37-year-old age would like to suggest. It is a good thing for a surprisingly steady Atlanta Braves team.
How much Jose Bautista plays for the Braves is uncertain. For now, Bautista will play some third base and perhaps spend some time in the outfield. When Jose Bautista is not in the lineup, he will help in other ways.
With Jose Bautista, the Atlanta Braves have a proven leader, who was a strong veteran presence in the Toronto Blue Jays’ clubhouse. All Bautista cost the Braves was a minor league deal.
The Atlanta Braves were atop the National League East with a 19-12 record at the time of calling up Jose Bautista. He went 1-4 at the plate, showed his ability to work a pitch count, and showed some solid defense at third base.
Being a mentor to the younger Braves’ players such as Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, and Ronald Acuna Jr. will be key for Jose Bautista. As they continue to grow as major league players, Bautista will be asked for advice and guidance.
The expectations at the batter’s box are minimal for Jose Bautista. However, if he can regain his reputation of being one of the MLB’s most feared hitters, the Atlanta Braves will be better for it.