Jose Bautista lasted only 12 games with the Atlanta Braves, but the former All-Star has now found another MLB opportunity in the same division.
The New York Mets announced Tuesday they had signed the veteran to a one-year, major league contract, and that he would be immediately added to the team’s MLB roster. Utility man Phillip Evans was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas in a corresponding move.
We’ve signed outfielder José Bautista to a one-year major league contract. Bautista will wear #11 and be available for tonight’s game. To make room on the 25-man roster, we’ve optioned Phillip Evans to Las Vegas. #Mets pic.twitter.com/Sd3UMy0zT1
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 22, 2018
Why the Mets are signing Jose Bautista
Being offered a major league contract is quite the step forward for Bautista given that there was so little interest in him this offseason, he eventually had to sign a minor league deal with the Braves. What changed? The health of the Mets’ outfield.
Both Yoenis Cespedes and Juan Lagares were placed on the disabled list in the last week, with Lagares likely out for the rest of the season. Currently, the Mets’ starting outfield is made up of Jay Bruce, Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo. There wasn’t much depth after those three, to the point that the Mets experimented with playing first baseman Dominic Smith in right field while he was in Triple-A.
How Jose Bautista fits into the Mets
Since Bruce, Conforto and Nimmo all bat left-handed, Bautista could fit in well as right-handed option off the bench. The 37-year-old still needs to find at least a fraction of his old magic in Toronto, as he was batting just .143/.250/.343 through his 12 games with Atlanta and .250/.386/.361 in 10 games for Triple-A Gwinnett.
The contract brings Bautista all the way back to an organization he spent time with as a minor leaguer, but so very little time. The Mets acquired Bautista from the Royals at the trade deadline in 2004, but immediately flipped him to the Pirates.
Bautista might only be a temporary solution for the Mets’ outfield, but he’s at least a well-known name that should come well within their budget. If he can provide some power off the bench, he could end up being plenty useful for New York.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, the Mets play the Blue Jays in Toronto on July 3 and 4.
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