It’s been more than three months since Jose Bautista made it known that he had no plans to officially retire. There’s been virtually nothing mentioned about him since that time, but ESPN’s Jeff Passan now reports that the 39-year-old Bautista has been working out as a pitcher this winter in hopes of a return as a two-way player. Bautista plans to play for the Dominican Republic in this month’s Olympic qualifier tournament, though he might not pitch in that setting.
Bautista’s accomplishments at the plate are well known, of course. He emerged from journeyman prospect status to Blue Jays stalwart and feared All-Star slugger with a 2010 season that saw him rip a league-leading 54 homers. That kicked off a run of six straight All-Star appearances and helped to bring about the “Joey Bats” moniker that followed him throughout his career. From 2010-16, Bautista raked at a .264/.387/.542 clip, averaging 36 homers per season. His 2015 ALDS bat flip after a go-ahead, three-run homer against the Rangers stands out as one of the more iconic moments in Blue Jays franchise history.
All that said, Bautista’s production dipped sharply as he entered his late 30s. A 2017 return to the Blue Jays on a one-year, free-agent deal didn’t prove fruitful, and a followup effort split between the Braves, Mets and Phillies was better but not particularly encouraging. In a combined 1085 plate appearances between those two seasons, Bautista batted .203/.323/.371. He did not sign with a club last winter and sat out the 2019 season.
So what’s next for Bautista? He’s slated to play primarily first base in the aforementioned Olympic qualifier tournament. As for the slugger’s mound work, Passan tweets that he’s been able to run his fastball up to 94 mph. Bautista is also throwing a slider, it seems. Former Jays teammate Marcus Stroman tweeted in January that he’d been working out with Bautista and legitimately believed he could pitch in a Major League bullpen. It wasn’t clear at the time, though, that Bautista was actually working toward a spot as a potential two-way player.
Obviously, Bautista would face long odds in working his way back into the Majors — particularly as a viable pitcher. The addition of a 26th roster spot and the official two-way player designation may slightly bolster his chances of emerging as a first baseman/outfielder/reliever, but we’ve seen very few players capable of actually succeeding in a two-way role to this point. He’ll need to throw for big league scouts and would almost certainly need to be willing to take a minor league deal, but the possibility of Joey Bats becoming “Joey Sliders” should be a fun one to follow.
Say what? I thought you had to master one way first.
Ha ha.. oh the wit, oh the snark (slow clap). Guess you missed Joey Bats in his prime and heaven forbid players regress later in their career.
So did everybody else.
Lol you mean the guy that hit .269/.390/.555 with 227 HR and 34.8 WAR between 2010-15?
2015 was five years ago.
Very good. I think you have mastered subtraction.
I think that’s a fair point… 5 years is a long time in baseball.
So, you’re saying he needs to replicate those similar prime numbers in order to justify him trying out pitching (?). That’s irrelevant.
Exactly the point
Thank god. Doubted myself for a second.
Well boys, clearly it says he’s eyeing a comeback as a two-way player, two way players hit and pitch, and the comment was for the guy that says “he has to master one way first”. Obviously, a guy with those type of offensive numbers had mastered hitting more then 99% of the league for 6-7 years straight.
His power numbers were respectable and he was clutch. But the total numbers don’t scream mastery to me. Plus he hasn’t been relevant for five years AT ALL. So why should we bite that A.) He’s become a good hitter again, and B.) He’s also learned how to pitch well enough to do it at the big league level?
What’s to hate about a reliever who also got on base at a .350 clip the last time he suited up?
Depends on the supplements
94 on the heater? Is that verified? Not too shabby. A relief pitcher who can hit, someone in the NL will give him a shot on a low-risk deal, why not.
Ya let’s knock a guy with incredible will power to never give up.
Dude worked his butt off and became a phenom with his third team after being cut by the likes of the Pirates.
Hes basically the James Harrison of the MLB. And throwing 94 mph at his age is the stuff of urban legend
Sorry.. FIFTH major league team.
Imagine being given up on by the Orioles, Royals, Rays and Pirates yet never giving up and going on to become a 6x all-star and 3x silver slugger.
Like I said, the stuff of urban legend… also Epstein didnt kill himself
Mendoza Line 215
Sorry Freddy.Wrong again.The Pirtaes traded him to the Blue Jays,not cut him.And the Royals were the “likes of the Pirates”also.
During the off year that he was traded he enjoyed an amazing growth spurt in muscle.He attributed his large hitting improvement to a leg kick.
Let him try,but some of these guys just do not realize that they cannot do it anymore.
He was dumped for a catcher that never made the roster nor was expected to. Basically the same as being cut.
As for the growth spurt in muscle, you dont get that from sitting on your butt.
I sure cant wait for my growth spurt in muscle.. ill just sit here n hope for evolution to kick in
Mendoza Line 215
Actually Robinson Chironzon(sp?)did make the team but played very little and for only one year.
There are other ways to develop muscle too.
Fact is Bautista never did much with the Pirates or any other teams before the Blue Jays.
He basically developed with them.
Hope he makes it
Wow. I’d love to see it. Wish him luck.
Still good enough to serve as a bench bat for few teams.
“You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time.”
Mendoza Line 215
Best baseball book ever.
LOL this should be good! Wishing him the best!
So if he pitches and has control problems, does he revert to “Joey Balls?”
Lol And what if he’s homer prone as a pitcher? “Long ball Joey”?
There has to be a mobster somewhere named “Joey Balls.” If not, there should be.
If not, it would be worth becoming a mobster just to cultivate that name.
there will always be Iron Balls McGinty
Hubcap….you win the comments today….LOL
no Joey Balls was better!
love it I chuckled! good one!
Unrelated but I always liked that Jose Mesa was Joe Table in Spanish
I like to assume that Jesus Sucre translates to Sweet Jesus in some language!
I’m rooting for him to make it as pitcher just to see someone mimick his batflip after clobbering a meatball slider of his.
I want to see him plunk Odor…
@Jays4Days….the real reason he wants to pitch
It would be a lot of fun to see if can do it.
Would be be the oldest player to make his first mlb appearance on the mound?
Technically Satchel Paige is the oldest
I’d love to see Joey Broke pitch to Odor. That would be interesting.
Bautista hits Odor, Odor charges the mound, and Bautista punches Odor before Odor has a chance to punch Bautista.
Get your popcorn ready lol
More like Odor rocks Joey Ears’ world again before he knows what hits him. No Adrian Beltre around to keep wobbly Joey from falling down this time.
No, Joey would already know what was coming. He wouldn’t even need a trash can.
No, the pitch would be 10 feet outside, and Odor would start charging for one reason. Just to fight Bautista.
Once Odor knocks him out again he’ll be forever known as Joey Chins
That’s the first thing I thought of. I would pay serious money to see Bautista pitch to Odor.
In fact, turn it into a Pay Per View charity event. Line em up…
Bautista pitches to Odor.
Fiers pitches against Altuve, Bregman, Springer, and Correa. Step right up.
Clemens against Canseco.
Papelbon against Bryce Harper
Rubens Tejada against Chase Utley
Mitch William’s against Lenny Dyksyra
Jeff Kent against Barry Bonds
I would drop a bag of cash to see some of these matchups…ha
Roger Clemens against Mike Piazza!!
Nolan Ryan against Robin Ventura.
How about Kyle Farnsworth vs. Paul Wilson rematch? Maybe the rematch will last longer than the first match up did.
Broxton v. Stairs
Muncy v. Bumgardner
Would love to see it. Joey Bats is easily one of the more entertaining players around, and a much “smarter” hitter than he ever got credit for. That approach could very well help him on the mound.
He can be used as the ’emergency backup pitcher’ in case both teams run out of arms during a game!
Wow, a lot of 39 y/o’s can’t throw 94 much less a 39 y/o who has just started pitching. I guess being an outfielder let him work on his arm strength more, and he was able to keep that. I hope he does great.
I’m guessing it has more to do with PEDs.
Bautista’s arrogance is boundless. No mystery as to where Stroman’s arrogance was cultivated.
jesus man get over yourself
… right back at you, Brew.
You know what this is called? Intimidation.
Sam Dyson burner
I almost choked on my water when I saw this, lol.
So you are not good enough as a hitter anymore, so also becoming a below average pitcher will get you back to the Majors?
I guess there is always the O’s.
Joey Bats, Joey Throws
Go away Jose! Go away Jose!
He should get a job sparring for heavyweight fighters
I’ve always thought he’d make a perfect manager as well. He’s a very smart man. Could kill three birds with one stone if someone did that aha.
You know what this is called? Intimidation.
We argue a lot here but let’s take a sec to say Joey Sliders is honestly pretty catchy
No…Joey Balls was decided!
Poor Joey needs to take a hint and go away, he just doesn’t have it anymore and it’s not coming back.
Just wait, I feel like Joey Sliders would be one to pick up a screwball. Now that’d be exciting, a 94 mph fastball, an 87 mph slider, and a 73 mph screwball. Nasty… lol.
This could work out for a season you never know. But he has to do both at least at an average level. If I’m a team like the Orioles or the Royals, I give him a shot.
He’d go to Baltimore and suck, and then his contract would expire, and he would be picked up by the Blue Jays, then for a 6 year stretch he would be one of the best closers in the game getting the nickname “Joey Sliders”.
stretch, I agree!
Why? He had an excellent career, hung around for two bad years well past his prime, out of baseball for one season because every team saw that he was through, and is now 39 and done. Teams focus – rightly so – on giving roster spots to players who can still compete at the MLB level, not long past their prime guys who can’t admit that it’s over for them.
can he throw a knuckleball?
Fits the pugilistic tendencies as well
Talk about a great mob name
Really want to see him pitch in the American and have pitchers bat flipping on every single plate appearance against him.
Bat flips are dumb.
You know what this is called? Intimidation.
Don’t start this.
boomers are dumb
Chief Wahoo Lives
I absolutely agree! Players should be ejected from the game for trying to show-up the opposing pitcher with a bat flip. Bat flips are childish and ignorant. Almost as childish, ignorant and moronic as all of the players in the NFL who think that they have to celebrate after every single little routine play.
In the NFL there are guys who’s team is getting crushed by their opponent, and then the guy on the team that is getting their ass kicked makes a routine tackle and he thinks that he should jump up and celebrate like he just won the Super Bowl.
I enjoy the showmanship. Legit question though, Chief: would you also eject a pitcher for puumping his fists, or staring down a batter after a K?
Chief Wahoo Lives
Yes, it should go both ways.. Any blatant “showing-up” of an opponent should get an ejection.
I’m certainly not saying that players can’t show emotion. They should just do it without acting like a jerk toward the opponent, or acting like they are the greatest thing on earth.
yeah and then when everyone born before 1970 dies off and every stadium is empty due to not drawing a younger audience, baseball will just go away like we all want. i hate baseball so much. brett gardner is the only cool one. god i hate this sport so much.
Chief Wahoo Lives
I was born in 1972, not before 1970, you young whipper snapper.
Now get off of my lawn!
Chief Wahoo Lives
By the way… If you hate Baseball and want it to go away, then why are you posting on a Baseball website?
I hate rap music, so guess what…… I don’t go on rap music websites.
@Chief i was just mocking the way you people sound when you go online and cru about bat flips and showing personality on the field. all satirical
A lot of guys can throw gas. MiLB is full of them. If he has 94 and movement then you’re on to something and next finding out if can he maintain the stamina to ratchet it up consistently over 2 or 3 batters.
The bat flip was in the 2015 ales
Whoops — thanks for that.
Bautista’s bat was done 2 years ago unless he has been doing vitamins which is not his thing.
In the early days of his career he could have pitched. Now, he could probably get it up there but how effectively who knows.
To borrow someone else’s idea in the comments, if Bautista wants to stay in baseball he should hit the minors as a coach or manager.
Go home, enjoy your success, and find a way to make a meaningful contribution to your community. This is absurd. It’s O.V.E.R!!!!!
this needs to happen
I wouldn’t invest a shower spider on the chances of his success, but I wouldn’t mind watching him give it a shot.
Always a fan of the unusual, and this certainly qualifies. The Jim Bouton quote, above, was never more applicable. than here.
At the very least it has a better chance of any Tebow success lol
I’m now envisioning a spider in a shower cap
His 2015 ALDS bat flip after a go-ahead, three-run homer against the Rangers stands out as one of the more iconic moments in Blue Jays franchise history.
“One of the more” — not “the most.”
I know. Sadly, you’re right.
I’m not hoping he’ll fail, but I just don’t see how he could possibly succeed. He’s several years removed from being a great hitter; how can he learn a totally different position at an MLB level at 39?
Just because he was a fan favorite and all. I hope he at least gets a shot
He had shoulder troubles as a RF tho, cant imagine he would pitch long regardless
I want to see how Joey Bats the pitcher reacts to someone bat flipping on him when hitting a home run.
Rugged Odor reaction with a punch to the face. Kyle Farnsworth tackle as the touch homeplate
He still plays? He hasn’t been around since 2015 with that walk off homerun and his infamous batflip
Doubtful he’s running it up to 94 mph after he nearly blew out his shoulder trying to throw Delmon Young out at first base in a blowout game.
If Marcus Stroman believes Bautista can pitch in an MLB bullpen then that means Bautista can’t pitch in an MLB bullpen. Much like Stroman’s clothing attire and decision-making, his judgement isn’t exactly top notch.
I do wish Bautista luck. One of the greatest Blue Jays to ever wear the uniform.
He had a laser arm, one throw in a game 6 years ago is irrelevant
Had – we are in-agreement. After that throw his arm was not the same.
Nor was it the same in 2016 and 2017. That is why the Dominican Republic moved him the LF rather than keep him in RF at the World Baseball Classic. Lost the zip on the heater.
Do you see a pattern yet or are you still talking about irrelevance?
Some people aren’t noticed unless they flip a bat. Give them a break.
I just need to know if he’s going to negotiate for a few dollars?
Oh my God Jose can you see you are done walk away take your millions and retire give it up
this is hardly a hot take but ohtani changed the game. all any middling player has to say is “ay ima try to be a 2 way player” and they’ll be likely to latch on somewhere somehow no matter how absolutely absurd is. keeps dudes like jb shuck and matt davidson from being shoved away from the game they love, brendan mckay and jared walsh an actual chance at making money, and joey bats from falling into irrelevance. baseballs cool af
If Tim Tebow can still be a Triple A player four years in and be the worst MiLB in the sport, then Joey Bats easily deserves a roster spot. Having a full year off to train and being able to throw 94 and be a good pinch hitter off the bench is great. Have him pitch the end of the inning in th NL, then he bats in the pitchers spot and comes in for the next inning.
These comments are a priceless read. As for Bautista making it as a pitcher at 39- I can’t begin to imagine it but it would be awesome to see.
Is he trying with a fastball or going the knuckleball route?
Anyway, I believe James Loney tried to work as a pitcher in the Atlantic League a couple years back but I don’t believe he has any intention to make a comeback as a two-way player.
It’s March 2nd, not April 1st.
Joey, you had a good career. Can’t you just leave it at that?
He’d be the best hitting relief pitcher in the league.
I’d give him a shot if I were a non-contender. One roster spot gives you a pen arm, and a PH. That’s got some decent value. If you’re a NL team, over 162, you could find a use for him almost every night.
You might as well sign one of the rare starting pitchers who’s also a decent enough hitter that he can potentially pinch-hit when he’s not starting. Aside from Ohtani (who’s too good of a hitter and not a good enough fielder to keep away from an AL DH spot when he’s not starting), I’d much rather have someone like Bumgarner, Grienke, Wainwright, or Leake over Bautista.
Lorenzen might be a better hitting reliever!
And those rare starters are all spoken for, pretty sure everyone outside of Jose Bautista and maybe Marcus Stroman would rather have those guys!
He threw hard, when warming up before innings I remember a lot of his throws were out of a pitching motion. I’m sure he has worked on the mechanics more so then guys who can simply just throw hard. It’s worth a shot somewhere on a minor league deal.
Also working with this new technique called PEDs
PEDs are not Bautista’s deal. He used to wearing a shirt around that said PED free. He is an absolute health nut.
Jimmer, if Bautista is allegedly throwing 94 mph how did he get there when he probably wasn’t cracking low-80 from the OF a few years ago? Explain that.
Bautista had a 90 MPH heater from the mound when he came from the Pirates to the Jays.
I seriously doubt that he is throwing 94 MPH, not unless it is from the gun the exaggerates the pitches.
With his shoulder injury a few years ago it is doubtful he can pitch in the big leagues.
Now, he is a guess hitter at best.
The Pirates. That was over 10 years ago.
The shoulder issues started in 2015. I could believe 94 MPH prior to 2015. Not since the Delmon Young throw. The arm at the 2017 WBC was pushing the ball. No chance he could hit 94. I do wish him luck. I’d put him on the Level of Excellence sooner rather than later.
I’d put him on the Level of Excellence sooner rather than later.
Would love to see him come back so Odor could b-slap him again.
yanks have some room in the rotation
It would be a really cool story if he could somehow make it back as a 2-way player. If he really is throwing 94 and has a slider it’s not even that far out of the question that given the right opportunity it could be something he could accomplish. However that’s kind of a big “if” — like if he can throw 94MPH why has he never pitched/tried to before now. If he can throw 94 now at age 39 you’d have to imagine he used to be able to pump fastballs in the high 90s — and early in his career before his late-blossoming as a hitter — you’d think he might have given it a shot back then. Who knows though — would definitely be a cool story line even if nothing else just as a AAA attempt and maybe a brief stint in the ML
He has a better chance in the majors if he can pitch because he’s not good enough to just hit anymore but if he can be a mediocre pitcher he’s got a shot by sort of killing 2 birds with one stone
Baseball doesn’t work that way. Being both a mediocre hitter and a mediocre pitcher doesn’t make you any more valuable than just one or the other. Sucking at two unrelated jobs makes you just as useless as sucking at just one of them.
He’s not even a good hitter anymore! What makes him think he has any chance of pulling this off?!
First guy to take him yard should give him the dirtiest of bat flips