One of the top outfielders in Blue Jays history, Jose Bautista hasn’t suited up for a major league baseball team since 2018; but that doesn’t mean he is ready to hang up his cleats just yet.
With the Summer Olympics just a few months away, baseball is making a return after a brief hiatus that saw the sport dropped back in 2008. While some nations have already earned a spot in the competition, the upcoming Baseball America’s Qualifier tournament for North and South America nations is set to begin on May 31 in Florida.
In this tournament, there are a total of eight teams set into two groups. To have a chance to earn a spot in the Olympics, teams must advance to the Super Round after their first three games, with the nation holding the best record after the Super Round earning the lone spot to play in Tokyo. The second and third-place teams will get another chance later in June in the Final Qualifier tournament set later next month in Taiwan. The Blue Jays have a few players in the tournament, with pitcher William McAffer suiting up for Canada and top prospect Simeon-Woods Richardson with the United States.
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In the ten years Bautista played for the Blue Jays, he would finish with a .253/.372/.506, 288 home runs, and 766 RBI winning three silver slugger awards and representing the organization at the all-star game six times. He also led the league in home runs back in 2010 and 2011 with 54 and 43 jacks respectively while finishing his Jays’ career near the top of almost every offensive category.
Former Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista was named to the Dominican Republic national team ahead of the Baseball America’s Qualifier tournament, one of the last opportunities for North and South American nations to field a team in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
With the Dominican Republic announcing their roster back on May 20, it appears that Jose Bautista still has some gas left in the tank as he was included on the team as an outfielder alongside veteran players Melky Cabrera and Emilio Bonifacio. While Bautista is a few years removed from playing professional organized baseball, he was still making headlines back in 2019/2020 as he was attempting to make it back as a two-way player, training with former Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman.
No major league team took him up on that offer, and it now appears that the Dominican slugger has his sights set on the Tokyo Olympics with the national team. Whether he is using this opportunity as a chance to show major league teams he can still produce is not really known, it will be interesting to see how he will fair against competitive teams within his group.
It is not apparent if the Dominican team plans on using Jose Bautista in the bullpen or if he is strictly going to be in the outfield, but if Blue Jays fans are interested in seeing an old favourite suit up once again, the Dominican Republic will be playing their first game against Puerto Rico on May 31 at 1:00 pm.