Phillies pending free agent Jose Bautista tells FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (video link) that he plans to continue his career in 2019, which would be his age-38 season. Bautista would like to suit up for a contender next year, Rosenthal says.
Considering his output dating back to 2017, Bautista may not be in position to dictate the type of team he plays for next season. While he was among the game’s most feared sluggers as a Blue Jay from 2010-16, Bautista’s now set to finish up his second straight less-than-stellar offensive campaign. Still, Bautista has been roughly average this year by FanGraphs’ wRC+ metric (101), having compiled an unusual .199/.339/.370 line in 384 plate appearances as part of a National League East tour that has seen him play for the Braves, Mets and Phillies.
While he’s not exactly a defensive standout, Bautista has racked up plenty of action in the outfield and at third base, and that versatility impressed Mets manager Mickey Callaway, Rosenthal notes. Further, Rosenthal adds that Bautista has been a valuable mentor during his short stay in Philadelphia – which acquired him from New York less than a month ago.
Since the end of 2015, his last great season, Bautista has totaled just 1.5 fWAR in 1,588 PAs. Bautista’s days as a quality regular appear to be over, then, though he could continue serving as a useful bench bat in 2019. The right-hander has long offered similar offensive production against both same-handed and southpaw pitchers, which has been the case this season, and still possesses respectable power (12 home runs, .171 ISO) and patience (15.9 percent walk rate). And with a .344 expected weighted on-base average against a .317 wOBA, Statcast suggests Bautista has deserved somewhat better than the middling offensive output he has posted in 2018.