Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press
Veteran slugger Jose Bautista will get another chance to rebuild his career after agreeing to a one-year deal with the New York Mets, the team announced Tuesday.
He will be available for Tuesday’s game against the Miami Marlins.
Bautista had signed with the Atlanta Braves in mid-April but was released after about a month of minimal success. He hit two home runs in 12 games but posted just a .143 batting average and .593 OPS.
“We took a shot,” general manager Alex Anthopoulos said of signing Bautista, per Zach Dillard of Fox Sports South. “Certainly (there) was a lot of upside for us if it clicked. … We certainly didn’t feel like there was any downside.”
According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the team offered him an opportunity to return to the organization’s Triple-A affiliate.
However, the 37-year-old has apparently found a new home with the Mets.
Bautista has struggled with consistency over the past two seasons, but he hit at least 22 home runs in both years. He also isn’t too far removed from six straight All-Star selections from 2010-15. He finished in the top 10 of MVP voting in four of those seasons.
He hit 40 home runs for the Toronto Blue Jays just three years ago in 2015.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t find the same success in limited playing time in Atlanta. He was also out of position defensively at third base, which he hadn’t played regularly since 2008. He’s played mostly right field with a handful games at third base, first base and center field over the past decade.
Even without elite range, this versatility could be useful as he tries to gain extra at-bats in 2018.
This will be good for the Mets, a team that needs upgrades in both the corner outfield and corner infield spots, especially with Yoenis Cespedes, Todd Frazier and others on the disabled list.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports provided more reasons for the addition:
Jon Heyman @JonHeyman
mets have a shortage of outfielders, especially righthanded-hitting ones. bautista has a strong connection to mets exec jp ricciardi from Toronto days. makes some sense to give a try.
New York has filled the lineup with younger players over the past few weeks, but Bautista could be a valuable addition as a right-handed bat who can provide depth, power and experience.
While he might not be the game-changing player he once was, it could be enough to help the team remain in contention in the National League East.