As August comes to an end, Jose Bautista is on his way to a third team this season.
Jose Bautista was one of the MLB free agents who remained available for a long time, as he signed with the Atlanta Braves in mid-April. But he hit just .143 in 12 games, got released and signed with the New York Mets in May. Now “Joey Bats” is on the move again, with multiple reports he’s on his way to the Philadelphia Phillies for a player to be named or cash.
Bautista hit .266 with a .944 OPS over his first 35 games with the Mets, but he faded to finish with a .204/.351/.367 slash-line, nine home runs and 37 RBI over 83 games (302 plate appearances) with the team while mostly playing the corner outfield spots. He’ll fit as a bench bat in Philadelphia, with some position utility.
At first glance, Bautista would seem to profile as a masher of left-handed pitching. But his career platoon splits are pretty equal, and he has a .173/.362/.358 slash-line against southpaws so far this year. All things considered he won’t have to be limited to pinch-hitting against a certain-handed pitcher, for better or worse, which Phillies manager Gape Kapler is surely already aware of.
Playing for three teams in one season is rare enough, let alone playing for three teams within the same division in the same season. So Bautista is now in some very rare company.
Bautista’s days as a 40-homer slugger are gone at age-37, and he has never offered much extra value defensively beyond being able to stand in multiple positions or throw someone out from right field once in awhile.
But Bautista can give Philadelphia a veteran presence as they battle for a playoff spot, and an extra option off the bench/as a spot starter to give some guys a little rest down the stretch. At virtually no cost in a late-August deal, anything Bautista adds is upside for the Phillies.