Incoming: Jose Bautista

Joey Bats was signed last week to a non-guaranteed deal, and over the weekend, DOB said that he could join the Braves this week. If it were 2015, you’d be wondering how the Braves acquired Bautista on a minor league deal. But it’s 2018, he’s 37 now, and he’s coming off a rapid decline in his production.

You probably know a little bit about him as he’s been a bit of a lightning rod, and he had a run of being one of the premier power hitters in the game. But since he played in the Junior Circuit, let me give you some background.

Bautista did not begin his career as an elite power hitter until late in his career. He was a utility player for Pittsburgh that Alex Anthopolous, when GM of the Blue Jays, essentially acquired for nothing. AA has said that he had no expectations that Bautista would become the power hitter he would become. At the age of 29, Jose exploded to a .260/.378/.617 season in which he hit 54 HRs and drove in 124. He became a more complete hitter the next year producing a .302/.447/.608 line. He would have a peak that would span to his age-34 season in 2015.

We obviously did not acquire the hitter as described. In 2016, he declined to a .234/.366/.452 line while playing very poor right field defense. Last year, he was sub-replacement level, producing a .674 OPS in a full season of very bad right field defense. He went unsigned this offseason as the market corrected and he was believed to be finished. He will attempt to play third base for the Braves, and the early reports from minor league infield instructor Adam Everitt are that he may not be completely finished. If he can play a passable third base, and he can be a shell of the hitter he was during his peak, he can provide some right-handed hitting protection for Freddie Freeman, and if he’s not, the Braves are only out the $1M they signed him to. Obviously they believe he’s closer to even his 2016 performance vs. his putrid 2017 season, or else the Braves wouldn’t have signed him. They also were willing to invest $1M in seeing if he could play third base, and he seems to have passed that test as well.

If he gets the call to Atlanta, then they will probably look to give him at least a week to two weeks to see if he can be an asset. And if not, there are plenty and plenty and plenty and plenty of options to fill third base, so what do you have to lose?

80 thoughts on “Incoming: Jose Bautista”

  1. My favorite piece of Bautista trivia is his 2003-2004 transaction history (from B-Ref):

    1) December 15, 2003: Drafted by the Baltimore Orioles from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2003 rule 5 draft.

    2) June 3, 2004: Selected off waivers by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays from the Baltimore Orioles.

    3) June 28, 2004: Purchased by the Kansas City Royals from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

    4) July 30, 2004: Traded by the Kansas City Royals to the New York Mets for Justin Huber.

    5) July 30, 2004: Traded by the New York Mets with Matt Peterson (minors) and Ty Wigginton to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Kris Benson and Jeff Keppinger.

    So in a span of eight months, he had been drafted as a Rule 5, waived, sold and traded (twice in the same day), and been a part of five organizations. He actually played on the field for four of those teams in the 2004 season. Crazy.

  2. Fun at the Old GABP.. Day 1 of 4

    Fair bit of rain today but projected to stop around 7..

    Birthday Boy plus wife undeterred..setting off now.

    Divorce Lawyer (prev. wife) has tickets waiting.

  3. Can someone translate blazon’s third line for those of us that don’t speak poet?

  4. It’s blazon’s birthday, so he and his wife are going to the Reds-Braves game and they’re picking up tickets from his ex-wife, who was also his divorce lawyer?

  5. Yeah. Prior to his rebirth in Toronto Joey Bats was basically Ryan Flaherty without the outstanding defense.

    Remember the last former-stud, fading offensive player with bad defensive numbers we landed? Matt Kemp? He cost a lot more than this.

  6. What if Joey Bats produces like Braves legend Troy Glaus? I’d be pretty happy with that. And if he doesn’t, no big deal, we just fix Camargo at 3B rather than him floating around a lot.

  7. @4: I’m not sure whether his ex-wife was his divorce lawyer, or simply a divorce lawyer. The former would be quite weird, unless she was his divorce lawyer in a prior marriage.

  8. @7 I remember Glaus having a really good month and a productive follow up month, and then in the second half he was done. I expect something better at third base this year unless we’re looking at Bautista to just keep third base warm until Austin Riley arrives in the second half?

  9. What if the divorce lawyer was his second wife, who represented him in the divorce of his first wife? That’s a plausible theory based on the information provided.

    Ok, I’m done.

  10. divorce-assisting divorcée
    gives her baseball tickets away
    evidently not staunchly con
    the subsequent bride of ex-husband blazon

  11. The 2017 Dodgers had only one player accumulate more than 570 PAs and had 12 players get at least 250 PAs. The Astros also had 12 players get 250+ PAs, though they have the DH. Point being, the best teams in baseball are really deep, and they don’t feel compelled to get all of their best players 600+ PAs.

    Tucker, if he plays well, could easily clear 350+ PAs, and Camargo could get close to 400 PAs if he spelled 2B/SS/3B and hit a lot of righties at 3B. I hope they can be creative with a deep roster, and Snit is showing the ability to use these guys pretty well.

  12. @9, I would think that Austin Riley will get a September call-up, but there’s low odds of him getting any kind of substantial time on the mlb team before that. We’d have to have quite a string of injuries.

    Camargo may just make all of this a moot discussion. He looks like a winning player. I sometimes wish that I didn’t know his minor league stats and was just going on what I’ve seen so far. There are times where he looks like the most talented player on the field.

  13. I don’t want to see Austin Riley until 2019. I’m tired of rushing players who aren’t ready.

  14. Acuna suddenly has a 6 game hitting streak and is over .200. We might be seeing him very soon, folks.

  15. @16 I’d kinda wait until his slugging pct is over the Mendoza line, too. We don’t need a second Markakis.

  16. It’s his previous wife’s divorce lawyer, who gained a strange respect for Blazon’s rhymes during the settlement conferences.

  17. With his 3 hit game last night, Ronaldhino has climbed up to blistering 217/299/283 with 2 walks and 12 Ks. He’s been warming up of late, and he managed not to K at all last night. But I’m on the “let’s see an OPS over 600 before we rush him up” side of this one.

  18. Acuna walked in his 2nd PA, stole 2nd and 3rd, and scored on a Flowers groundout. 1-0 Gwinnett in the 6th. Soroka is pitching.

  19. With that homer by Neck, every regular in the lineup save Inciarte, #2 thru #8 in the lineup, is OPSing over 800. Who’d a thunk it

  20. No. He’s dealing against MLB players. That’s what being on an MLB roster means. Every pitcher in the history of the league has gotten his fair share of “bad teams who don’t have a lot of talent.” We don’t discount Greg Maddux’ 1995 simply because *literally* every other team in the division was putrid.

  21. Folty didn’t get a borderline call on a 3-2 with 2 outs to Hamilton. He was very visibly mad about not getting the call, gets the next guy down 0-2, then grooves a fastball that gets hit for a home run. He probably feels like the umpire is to blame, but if you’re not around the plate, you’re not going to get the calls. Does he and Newcomb just sit around wondering why they don’t get the calls or something? Your command is crap!

  22. Folty is not so young anymore. If you expect Teheran, who is only 3 months older than Folty, to be farther along than he is, then where ought Folty be?

  23. Why is it bad for Folty to show emotion? Maddux would’ve dropped five f-bombs if he hadn’t gotten that call. I really hate the body-language / attitude narratives.

    He’s pitching great. Homers happen, especially when you throw 95.

  24. I would have liked Snitker to get another inning out of Folty here though. We’re going to lose more than we win when this pen has to go 4 or 5 innings.

  25. Age isn’t all that matters. Folty’s only got two seasons of actual experience starting.

    The pitcher Folty most reminds me of is John Smoltz prior to 1994. Pre-“sports psychologist” Smoltz. Tons of talent. Electric stuff. Absolute headcase.

  26. Although the 6th inning wouldn’t be a problem if our starters could go more than 5 innings

  27. Maddux may have gotten mad at blown calls, but he had a right to be. Folty has no right to be pissing and moaning the way he does. It’s as foundational to the unwritten rules of baseball as anything else that if you’re not around the plate, you won’t get the calls. Using Maddux as an example almost proves the issue with Folty: you ain’t Maddux. Start locating, and then get mad, not the other way around.

    This loss, if we lose, is 100% on Folty’s shoulders. This team was never meant to be 8-deep in the pen.

  28. Snitker is in control over how deep the starters go. He’s also the guy that has managed the bullpen in the 6th inning in a way where we have the platoon disadvantage on every single hitter that’s come to the plate in this long assed inning.

    Folty is far better than any pitcher we could bring in from the pen. Let him go deeper. Let him work out of jams. Ugh.

  29. Now Biddle has a chance for the Triple Grybo since he allowed all of Moylan’s runners to score, if he can get this last out.

  30. You can’t continually throw 100 pitches in 5 innings and expect this subpar bullpen to bail you out. Folty might have great stuff but he acts like a tool everytime he thinks he is getting squeezed and predictably melts down every time

  31. Folty gave up 2 runs. He didn’t take himself out. I’m pretty sure his ERA+ is like 150 this year. I’m not sure what else you want from him, other than to throat punch Snitker when he comes to the mound to take him out.

  32. I would blow Folty’s arm out by the end of the season. 20 pitches an inning? Great! You’re still going 6. Good luck.

  33. What an awful bullpen performance. Moylan has given us nothing. Freeman is trying real hard to lose his roster spot. And I don’t give Biddle any credit even if it was Votto that he walked.

  34. That really was a sub-optimal place to bring in Moylan. 3 of the 4 guys he faced were LH. He should never face LHB.

  35. Relievers are on pace for the following amount of appearances:

    Freeman – 104
    Carle – 80
    Minter – 80
    Vizzy – 80
    Moylan – 80

    And the night is young.

    That’s not going to work.

  36. On the bright side, Soroka threw a complete game shutout tonight in the Striper’s 7-inning game-one.

    I guess he’s like the anti-Folty.

  37. As previously noted, this bullpen is awful and may single handedly prevent this team from actually competing. Which is kind of a shame since it should be the easiest thing to fix.

    Also, this L is on me. :)

  38. I’m sure Snitker is a good clubhouse by, but he has absolutely no idea what he’s doing out on the field.

  39. The bullpen isn’t awful; it’s way overworked. Not sure what the numbers say, but the starters seem to be pitching, on round-number average, a inning less per game than they need to be. Remember, it was a Herculean and heroic feat that Wisler pitched an Atlanta Complete Game, 7 IP performance. Accordingly, that’s 162 innings of increased demand on the pen. That’s almost 3 extra quality relievers needed! Not happening. Not this year. Maybe not ever with what relievers get paid and what our payroll is.

    They may have to go to two long relievers to chew up starter-vacated innings at starter-level quality (high 3’s ERA). What we’re doing now is completely unsustainable. Freeman will be dead by July.

  40. @38 krussel

    After the first two innings tonight Folty had thrown 46 pitches, Columbo 18. I said to my lady then, we are in trouble, expect an extended visit from our bullpen.

    For those having trouble with the Queen’s English.
    “Divorce Lawyer (prev. wife) has tickets waiting.”

    “My Divorce Lawyer(he handled the divorce of my previous wife, not the one with me today who took me out for my birthday.”

    Clear as mud.

    It was bitterly cold in the park tonight. Outside, in the streets it was around 50, inside the coldish breeze whipped round the park and kept it up all game. Amazing difference.

    Said to krussell above how big the disparity was in the pitch count after 2.We were doomed with our pen.

    We’ll still take 3 out of 4

  41. They said on the radio broadcast Saturday night that Snit had said that he’d like to have a 3rd lefty. I can definitely see why. You have Minter who is entrenched in a late-inning role, then you have Freeman who is on pace to appear in the most games in major league history since Mike Marshall.

    Bringing in Moylan to face 3 straight lefties makes sense a little bit. Phil Gosselin was announced, then Moylan was announced, then Jesse Winker was announced. So there’s the first. So unless you’re going to go to Minter right then, then you pretty much have to stick with Moylan because you don’t want to go to unproven Biddle. So then you face two more lefties, Moylan can’t get anyone out, so then, as a last resort, you bring in Biddle to face two more lefties. Then THAT doesn’t work, then you throw your lineup card in the trash and go get hammered.

    You could say that he should have went away from Moylan to, say, Winkler once they announced Winker (that’d be a cool match-up), but if you’re Snit, you really have to be wondering how many dadgum relievers you have to go to in a given game. I’d be frustrated if I was Snit.

  42. We need to seriously think about a 7 man starting rotation where a couple guys each pitch 4 or 5 innings. One or two combo-starts per week.

    Either that or Snit has to let our starters go deeper and stop looking at pitch counts or third-time-through-the-order splits.

    The arms are in the org already. It’s just a matter of whether AA wants to win this year or punt yet again.

  43. Once Gohara and A Sanchez are back up/healthy, our pen should look better. Not sure how much I trust Wisler out of the pen though. At least he throws strikes, I guess. Yes, we need another lefty in the pen.

  44. I looked at the minor league numbers of this crop of starter prospects last year. My biggest concern then was that they threw too many pitches and too few innings, while walking too many batters.

    This isn’t a surprise. If you can’t go more than five innings in the minors, it’s not likely that you suddenly figure it out in the majors.

  45. It’s still April, so the thinking with Foltynewicz must have been that his pitch count was already at 103 and he was falling apart. I think if it was June, they probably push him to work out of it.

    This loss feels like the team took one to try to protect Folty’s confidence. Any time the starter doesn’t last at least 5 innings, this team, in particular, is likely to lose. I certainly hope the team can change strategies. I’d rather have starters who go 7 innings and give up 4-5 runs than this alternative.

  46. Don’t underestimate Biddle. Yes, he blew the 6th along with everyone else, but he had a perfect 7th unlike any of the others. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the luxury of being brought along slowly because of the ongoing meltdowns in the pen. Once Moylan blew the inning, there was no reason to waste Winkler.

    There’s a common thread to all of this that no one is mentioning. It also applies to Soroka’s complete game shutout……… Flowers. Suzuki has never had the reputation of a strong defenseman. If Flowers were in and could add a mirror and a little smoke and steal 2-5% of the balls for strikes, suddenly some of these awful collapses would turn into miraculous escapes.

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