On the MLB Network, Peter Gammons mentioned ose Bautista had his eyes checked and they were “very bad”. That should change nothing for the Blue Jays, other than wishing their former slugger well in pursuing a contract for 2018.
As I’ve read over comments and articles on social media circles today, there’s been an awful lot of talk about a familiar face to the Toronto Blue Jays, Mr. Jose Bautista. In case you missed the chatter, there was a report that Bautista had his eyes checked and found they were “very bad”, which could explain why he struggled so mightily in 2017 in Toronto. Peter Gammons was the one who explained the situation on the MLB Network, and there was a solid article from Ian Hunter at www.bluejayshunter.com that explains the whole scenario as well.
The long and the short of the whole thing is that there’s suddenly some hope and a plausible explanation for why Jose Bautista went from a feared slugger, to a whimpering mouse at the plate last year. When he struggled in 2016 it was mostly due to injury, but he was pretty healthy throughout 2017. It was assumed that time had simply caught up with the Blue Jays’ legend, but this new discovery could mean that maybe he’s got some gas left in the tank after all. Who knows?
Here’s the thing though, it shouldn’t matter to the Blue Jays one way or another, except to wish their long time star well wherever he ends up. It wouldn’t be very fun if he signed with an AL East rival like the Red Sox or Rays and took revenge on his former club, but otherwise there’s no reason to cheer against him finding his old stroke.
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It’s just that we shouldn’t bet on it anymore. The Blue Jays took a shot on him last year and paid him 18 million to have his worst season as a regular since coming North of the border. He broke a Blue Jays record for strikeouts in a single season, and really looked like he was toast. At 37, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him find a useful role on a new team in the right situation, but how does he take a reduced role as a Blue Jay?
Add in the fact that there’s just no room for him on the current roster, and it doesn’t really matter if he suddenly posts Instagram videos of him hitting the ball to the moon. Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins have made some tough decisions this offseason in an effort to turn the page on Alex Anthopoulos’ team and to hanging on to nostalgia. In addition to letting Bautista know he wouldn’t be re-signed, they also cut bait with fan favourite Ryan Goins, and then promptly went out and upgrade the position. In the outfield they’ve added Curtis Granderson and Randal Grichuk to a group that includes Kevin Pillar, Steve Pearce, Ezequiel Carrera, Teoscar Hernandez, and plenty of talented minor leaguers who may be ready to play at the MLB level.
Regardless of how great of a comeback story it would be to see Bautista pop in some contact lenses and re-take his place among the AL East’s greatest power hitters, we all need to accept those days have passed, just as his days in a Blue Jays uniform have as well. That doesn’t mean we can’t root for him to his well enough to find another job and go out on his terms, but the reports of vision correction shouldn’t, and won’t change anything as far as the Blue Jays are concerned.