January 20, 2017
One More Go-Round in Toronto
Signed OF-R Jose Bautista to a one-year, $18.5 million contract. [1/18]
How strange it all is. After emerging as a superstar out of nowhere in 2010, the man they call Joey Bats put up six consecutive premium offensive seasons. He established himself as one of the game’s elite power hitters, winning over fans—of his own team at least—with his bravado and the violence he did to baseballs. He had his detractors as well—umpires, the Texas Rangers, anyone who believed in the Man in White—but it seemed a sure thing that his free agency would be a feeding frenzy of teams looking to acquire the aged-but-dynamic hitter. He could be, should be, might be an instant panacea to an anemic offense, a direct injection of attitude and respectability to any team.
That’s not what happened at all. Once again, Bautista did the unexpected: he struggled in his age-35 season, watching his 40-homer power sink to pedestrian levels even as the Brad Millers and Brian Doziers of the world out-jacked him. In the ultimate indignity, the market failed him during the time he needed it most, coming flush with right-handed power hitters of questionable defensive value—can you believe Chris Carter still doesn’t have a job?—and leaving him stuck with a one-year offering.