Prior to arriving in Toronto, José Bautista was a third baseman and was struggling to find consistent playing time on the field. While his impact with the Blue Jays was not immediately present following the midseason 2008 trade from the Pirates, the 2009 campaign saw the righty slugger gain some momentum before finding his power stroke in 2010 and beyond.
From 2010 to 2015, Bautista moved to right field and utilized his quick bat speed to find a way to keep driving in home runs, mashing 227 through 2962 at-bats and becoming one of the most feared hitters in the MLB. He led the Majors in round-trippers with 54 in 2010 (a Blue Jays single-season record) and earned six consecutive All-Star appearances through this time. This all led to Bautista and his “bat flip” heroics during the 2015 ALDS against the Texas Rangers, cementing himself in Toronto sports history by putting the Blue Jays ahead and eventually winning the series.
Overall, Bautista finished his Jays career with a .253/.372/.506 slash line, 288 home runs, 766 RBI, and a .878 OPS to go along with a 38.3 bWAR, which leads all Jays’ position players throughout the franchise’s history. He also sits second in terms of home runs behind Delgado, third in RBI, and fifth in terms of games played (1235). He also owns the single-season record for walks at 132.
Bautista’s time in Toronto ended when the Jays started to rebuild and he became a free agent in the 2017/2018 offseason. While he hasn’t officially retired, the Dominican slugger has not appeared in an MLB game since 2018. Many project he is a leading candidate for a spot on the Level of Excellence and also potentially a statue at the Rogers Centre.