Toronto Blue Jays: Good, Bad, and Ugly – Jose Bautista
By Samuel Bruce
Jays Journal takes a look at the season that was for their roster. Today’s subject will be the famous Right Fielder whose tenure has finally come to an end, Jose Bautista
Joey Bats has cemented himself as one of the best Blue Jays’ hitters in franchise history. He is also one of the best offensive forces in this decade of Baseball. He has been a delight to watch, and has been the face of the franchise for his entire tenure with the Blue Jays. There was hope last year that 2016 was only a blip on the radar, but the regression bug has finally reared its ugly head. The contract Jose Bautista lands this year will likely be his last before his retirement.
Jose looked every bit his old self in the month of May. He littered the ball across the fence and was an utter force at the plate. This came at a time when the entire team was clicking and there was hope that they could pull themselves out of the gutter. Sadly that didn’t happen, and as the calendar turned to June both the Blue Jays and Bautista’s production fell off the rails.
Despite his poor offensive season, Jose had a nice rebound on defense. He has never been an astounding fielder, but he looked much more capable than in the previous two seasons. His health was also a non factor. In a year plagued with injury, the oft-injured Bautista logged more playing time than most of his colleagues. A feat that would be impressing, if it wasn’t so pathetic.
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The Bad and the Ugly.
Most of Joey’s season fits into the ugly column. He posted a miserable .203 Average, along with a meager 23 Home Runs and 68 RBI’s. To make matters worse he posted a career high 170 K’s and the lowest walk rate since 2013. His -1.7 WAR was most certainly not deserving of the contract he signed last off season. Outside of the WBC and May, Bautista looked lost at the plate. At times his struggles were almost ridiculous, but then again, what wasn’t ridiculous about this season. His multi-year option was not exercised and he has become a free agent once again. His services were in no demand last year, and it appears that they will be in even less demand this year.
Jose Bautista has cemented himself as an all time great in Toronto. As the tumultuous Hot Stove season kicks off, it will be easy to get down on him. But I suggest that we celebrate his contributions to this great team he has played for. For much of the decade his exploits have given Toronto fans something to cheer about. And he was instrumental in getting the team back to the playoffs. I will remember him and his time fondly, and may even hope there is some glimmer of a chance that I will see him suit up one more time in the colours of the team I love.