Blue Jays: Jose Bautista Inks One Year Contract with the Atlanta Braves

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 24: Jose Bautista
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 24: Jose Bautista /

The wait is finally over for Jose Bautista, as he signed a MiLB deal with the Atlanta Braves, which was announced on Wednesday.

Two former Blue Jays reunite in Atlanta. The Atlanta Braves signed veteran Jose Bautista to a minor league deal today, the work of former Toronto Blue Jays GM, and current Atlanta Braves GM, Alex Anthopoulos.

The former Blue Jays franchise icon signed with the Atlanta Braves on a minor league deal. The deal is worth just $1 million, with incentives, if Bautista plays in the majors. It is believed that he will play third base with the Braves—something his agent advertised at the opening of free agency. Bautista played eight games at third last year for the Jays.

Interestingly, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports and MLB Network, is reporting that Bautista had a deal for more money at another team but chose to sign with the Braves, instead. One is left to wonder if his relationship with Braves GM Anthopoulos swayed this decision. Worth noting, the most recent team to reportedly have interest in Bautista’s services was the AL East Division rival Tampa Bay Rays.

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Bautista’s signing comes off of recent comments by former Blue Jay Edwin Encarnacion that Jose had been working out and was prepared for a deal in the majors. Which our own Hayden Godfrey wrote about here.

The $1 million, one year deal with the Braves is a big step down from the one year, $18 million deal signed with the Toronto Blue Jays last year. He had an option with the Blue Jays for this season, but after he struggled to produce last year, it was an easy decision for the front office, at least financially.

Undoubtedly, the drop in pay is a result of Bautista’s lacklustre year last season with the Blue Jays. The right fielder was worth a dismal -1.7 WAR with a .674 OPS, 76 OPS+, and a .295 wOBA.

Still, despite the tough years in 2016 and 2017, Jose will always be remembered in Toronto for his All-Star years in which he hit 40 or more home runs in three separate seasons, with a career high, and MLB leading total of 54 in 2010.

Also, he will never be forgotten for his legendary bat flip in the 2015 ALDS. Igniting a fierce rivalry with the Texas Rangers. A rivalry, however, that seems to be lacking the same fire without him.

While it’s hardly an ideal situation for Bautista to land in, it’s great to see him back in baseball, and with an opportunity to prove that he’s still got some gas left in the tank. Maybe this will be the last season of Bautista’s career, but I’m sure he’s thrilled to have the chance to leave on his own terms, rather than the way things concluded in Toronto last year.

Next: Things are good, and could get better yet