Earlier this spring, longtime Blue Jays star Jose Bautista found himself in headlines when reports emerged suggesting that the two-time AL home run champ was contemplating a comeback bid as a two-way player after not suiting up in 2019. Former teammate Marcus Stroman posted some videos of the two working out together, including video of Bautista pitching, which only fueled the story.
The 39-year-old Bautista appeared on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM this week to discuss his future in the game (Twitter link, with audio). While he isn’t ruling out anything with regard to working on the mound, Bautista also made clear that he’s not actively seeking a chance to pitch and considers himself a hitter above all else.
I’ve never stated that it was my plan or desire to make it to the big leagues as a big league pitcher. … That being said, I was working out with Stroman all offseason. He’s local to Tampa. He’s my really good friend, he needed a throwing partner, and I just got on his program to help him out and have fun with it. He since has posted a few pictures and videos of me going through the routine with him, which has led to a lot of speculation — needless to say. I’m a hitter. … I would entertain an opportunity to get back to the big leagues as a hitter. … If somebody calls me and says, ’Hey, you want to be a two-way guy?’ I’d be a fool to say no. That’s kind of the way I look at it.
Bautista went on to note that he’s not banking on anything and would be staying in shape regardless of his playing status, but it seems he’d approach any opportunity to return with an open mind. His bat dropped off notably in his final two big league seasons, when he slashed a combined .203/.323/.371 in 1085 plate appearances between the Blue Jays, Braves, Mets and Phillies. Even in the midst of that downturn, though, Bautista demonstrated a keen eye (13.9 percent walk rate) and solid power (36 home runs, .168 ISO). His 25.8 percent strikeout rate was up about 10 percent from his peak years but not egregiously high in today’s game.
Whether Bautista received any interest on minor league deals over the past couple of offseasons isn’t clear, although it stands to reason that if the league adopts a universal DH and/or expands rosters to 29-plus players for a shortened 2020 season — both have reportedly been discussed — Bautista could become a more appealing target. It’s eminently possible that we’ve seen the last of “Joey Bats” in the Majors and likely that we’ll never get to break out a “Joey Sliders” moniker in earnest, but the six-time All-Star still isn’t quite closing the door on another run.
I enjoyed this guy as a role player in the Phillies outfield when they were trying to stay in the hunt. It looked like he still had some gas in the tank. Hopefully he can stick around a bit longer with the 26 man rosters. I know that’s doubtful given his lack of positional flexibility but his toolkit still plays. Seems like a solid teammate despite the flip into the heavens and the face punching incident.
Jays should sign him, let him retire in toronto.
Arrogance will keep him out. Too many other options at DH. 39 hang it up dude
His weight will keep him out. Too many other options at SP. In your mid-40s hang it up dude.
Imagine saying that to Bartolo Colon who hasn’t been in the bigs since 2018 as well.
I would stop viewing this situation with anger, but rather, sadness. What we are witnessing in real time is a man watching his time end and scraping, begging for one last little kernel, one last little sliver of life at the highest level for a pro athlete.
On the other hand, imagine being 39 with probably like $30M in the bank and not retiring. Some people….
He’s not done by any means and could definitely outhit a significant amount of the league.
good iddee but shapiro an is friend are probably to dumb
He won’t come back because of his age and he has not played in a MLB game since 2018 and most teams would not be interested in signing him
He won’t come back because of his age and he has not played in a MLB game since 2018 and most teams would not be interested in signing him.
You can say that again…
he already did…
If Jon Jay can still find a dumb GM to sign him, why not Bautista?
Jon Jay still is a solid 4th/5th OF option
-0.8 WAR last year after 0.5 WAR the year before isn’t really a solid 4th OF. In Bautista’s last season (2018) he at least put up 1.4 WAR. That isn’t horrendous.
Jay was also injured for a good portion of last year. last full season he posted soild numbers. even at times last year his BA off the bench was solid.
Even more reason not to sign Jay. Injured. 35. Quite possibly the least productive career .285 hitter in the last 20 years. Any AAA player is better than him.
If you only look at “war” you’re part of the problem in baseball right now
No, Jay is not. He’s slow, no arm, no power, no defense. But he sure can succeed at getting HBP.
Joey Sliders, love it!
i dont get all the darts being thrown at Bautista. sure its crazy, but we’ve seen crazy a lot recently. Bartolo’s in Mexico, Venters was out of the majors for years, Grady Sizemore came back. this may be one of tne craziest comebacks yet, but baseball is a sport of comebacks.
Jose Bautista and Marcus Stroman – telling.
Telling of what?
A true pros pro
wild bill tetley
If a minor league contract was offered to Bautista would he accept it?
hard to say really. I think he would if there was a decent chance of getting on the roster.
This might be the wrong Jose, as I suspect Jose Reyes has a better chance of returning as a two-way player. Reyes did pitch an inning in MLB,.after all – two homers, two walks, and a HBP, but technically he did pitch. Get Jeff-Jeff on the phone!
Love of the game rides hard. 100 million in the bank.
Why did I I read this article? Why did they write this article? Why am I even putting attention to this article and posting a comment here about this article?
Perhaps the writer is just passing time and we are all passing time here reading this nonsense about Bautista At 39 coming back to play Major league baseball. Please do yourself a favor and come to grips that it’s over and now use that cash to have fun in retirement.
Nelson Cruz disagrees with your age assessment