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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Braves sign Jose Bautista to a minor-league contract, will play third base

The Braves announced an agreement with infielder Jose Bautista on a one-year, minor-league contract Wednesday. Bautista has reported to the team’s extended spring training in Florida.

The Braves announced he would play third base. Bautista manned third in eight games last season (38 innings), but hasn’t consistently played there since 2007, when he appeared in 126 games at the hot corner for the Pirates.

Bored Posted: April 18, 2018 at 01:59 PM | 35 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves, jose bautista

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   1. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: April 18, 2018 at 03:03 PM (#5656056)
Going up the defensive spectrum at 38. Nice.
   2. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: April 18, 2018 at 03:04 PM (#5656057)
A one million dollar flier on "can Joey Bats outperform Ryan Flaherty or Charlie Culberson" is money well spent.
   3. Howie Menckel Posted: April 18, 2018 at 03:04 PM (#5656060)
weird weird weird.

Ryan Flaherty is a utility guy who is hitting way over his head, but I thought Johan Camargo (3B-SS) would be off DL soon. Bautista will be the unlikeliest Gold Glove candidate since DH Rafael Palmeiro won one.
   4. stevegamer Posted: April 18, 2018 at 03:33 PM (#5656071)
I wouldn't call him an infielder, but it's a sensible risk. He can play different spots, and he's not blocking anyone, and it's cheap.
   5. flournoy Posted: April 18, 2018 at 03:54 PM (#5656081)
Huh. Okay. Hey, why not? Freddie Freeman actually got some playing time at third last year, even though I was sure he wouldn't.

Austin Riley is off to a great start in AA, so hopefully he'll be ready for the big leagues next year and we can put an end to the third base merry-go-round.
   6. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: April 18, 2018 at 05:03 PM (#5656138)
Camargo has not hit at AAA yet (he's warmed up a little last week or so, but he's still struggling.) The Braves are somewhat surprisingly competitive almost a month in, so taking a chance to see if Jose Bautista can produce more value for you than Charlie Culberson and/or Ryan Flaherty is a pretty solid move, IMHO.

The Braves SHOULD improve by dint of replacing replacement level players with actual talent, going forward. Tyler Flowers is near ready to return, so Carlos Perez won't be sucking up at bats as an emergency catcher. Ronald Acuna finally broke out a little at AAA last week, so one of Peter Bourjos or Lane Adams should be replaced by him shortly. Bautista and Camargo would push Flaherty and Culberson off the roster. They just demoted Jose Ramirez and called up Jesse Biddle, which should improve the pen by degrees. Luis Gohara is rehab starting now, and they're actually talking about Mike Soroka getting a call this year (he'd be the Acuna of the pitching staff.)
   7. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: April 18, 2018 at 05:03 PM (#5656139)
I don't think Riley will get pushed above AAA this year, personally.
   8. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: April 18, 2018 at 05:24 PM (#5656152)
Anibel Sanchez collapsed while running sprints pregame today. They air-casted his leg and carted him off. Looks like Matt Wisler will return for his next start.
   9. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 18, 2018 at 05:35 PM (#5656156)
Satch wasn't kidding. Avoid running at all times.
   10. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: April 18, 2018 at 05:48 PM (#5656163)
Jesse Biddle, the other top prospect besides Adam Morgan who back in 2012 were supposed to join the Phillies' amazing rotation some day! They meet in opposing bullpens tonight.
   11. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: April 18, 2018 at 06:09 PM (#5656170)
I honestly had no idea he wasn't even playing right now.
   12. wjones Posted: April 18, 2018 at 07:05 PM (#5656194)
This is AA's secret conspiracy to convert those fans who don't like Bryce Harper. Give them a two month taste of Bautista, and they will embrace Harper by comparison. .
   13. Random Transaction Generator Posted: April 18, 2018 at 07:06 PM (#5656196)
I assume if he goes on a tear when called up he can be traded for a B level prospect at the deadline for a team looking for a PH/4th OF.

Also, he's REALLY good with rookies and minor leaguers. Lots of stories about him standing up for a minor leaguer he thought the Jays network was screwing over (by making him pay for a suit), and about him always working with the young guys in the batting cage and taking them to dinner.
   14. Snowboy Posted: April 18, 2018 at 07:49 PM (#5656237)
The bb-ref page for Joey Bats needs an update. It already lists his "Last Game" as being in 2017. Harsh!

According to that page, Jose has made $103,797,500 playing the game of baseball. That's more than all of Atlanta's players will make, combined, this year. Good for him to take a rookie out to dinner. (I'm serious - some guys hit the jackpot after a good year, then blow it all on twin yellow Lamborghinis and up their nose, and are never heard from again.) And good for Alex Anthopolous to give Bautista a chance. Although that is a lot of money, Bautista was a three-time Silver Slugger winner, and finished top 10 in MVP voting four times, and his contracts were fairly team-friendly in Toronto. If Jose's got anything left in the tank, AA wants to find out.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: April 18, 2018 at 09:08 PM (#5656264)
I wish him the best, always liked the guy, and there's no harm in the signing of course. But it's unlikely Bautista has anything left in the tank and could be historically awful at 3B (in whatever tiny sample they let him play it).

Unfortunately baseball careers often end quite suddenly and brutally. In this case, it's been trending this way for a while. Bautista 2014-17 ...

K% 14.3 15.9 19.9 24.8
HR/FB 15.9 17.5 14.1 11.1
BA 286 250 234 203
BABIP 287 237 255 239
WAR 6.7 4.8 1.1 -1.7

That's a 243 BABIP in his last nearly 1900 PA -- probably not a fluke.
   16. Lassus Posted: April 19, 2018 at 08:12 AM (#5656346)
besides Adam Morgan

Boy, the road game for this dude against the Nationals is going to be fun.
   17. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: April 19, 2018 at 08:51 AM (#5656361)
He might want to bring a firstbaseman's mitt too.
   18. dlf Posted: April 19, 2018 at 08:59 AM (#5656365)
He was a fun player to watch for a couple of years and may have a dead-cat bounce, but I wouldn't bet on it. I'd actually prefer the functionally replacement level play +/- that can be expected from Joey Bats in the version that would come from Culberson / Flaherty via good defense as I think that stealing a couple of outs each month instead of giving back one or two a week does a lot for young pitcher development.

But hey, putting Bautista at third is no less shocking than the attempt at the beginning of the decade to bring Troy Glaus to camp as a 3B. If I recall, it lasted all of one game during the regular season.
   19. bigglou115 is not an Illuminati agent Posted: April 19, 2018 at 09:37 AM (#5656374)
But hey, putting Bautista at third is no less shocking than the attempt at the beginning of the decade to bring Troy Glaus to camp as a 3B. If I recall, it lasted all of one game during the regular season.


That's not how I remember it. First, Troy Glaus was a brave in 2010. Team still had this other guy making 3B then, with capable backups. Glaus was coming off an injury year were here only played 14 games, but the season before in 2008 he played 140+ at 3B. Before 2008 he didn't have an MLB appearance at 1B. But he'd had major shoulder surgery. I remember that there was concern about him being a full time 1B because he only had a handful of games at 1B up to then, but 1B was always the plan because Chipper was there at 3B.

In point of fact, of you go back and check mlbtraderumors you'll see that even at the time of his signing it was known he'd be a 1B. In fairness, I only remember this stuff because I wanted then to move Chipper to first and give 3B to Prado full time.
   20. BDC Posted: April 19, 2018 at 09:54 AM (#5656380)
Twelve most similar batting careers to Bautista, by OPS+ and PA:

Player               dWAR   PA OPSRbaser  HR  RBI   BA  OBP  SLG        Pos
Bill Dickey           7.6 7065  127    1.2 202 1209 .313 .382 .486        
*2H
Ray Lankford          0.6 6675  123    4.6 238  874 .272 .364 .477    
*87H/D9
Roy Thomas           
-2.3 6575  124  -20.1   7  299 .290 .413 .333   *8/7H391
Rudy York            
-3.6 6723  123    2.7 277 1149 .275 .362 .483    *32/H57
Augie Galan          
-3.9 7005  122   -1.8 100  830 .287 .390 .419 *78H/35496
Kirk Gibson          
-6.4 6656  123   30.0 255  870 .268 .352 .463      79D8H
Kip Selbach          
-6.5 7102  121   -0.4  44  779 .293 .377 .412   *79/8645
Gene Woodling        
-8.1 6615  123  -16.5 147  830 .284 .386 .431     *79H/8
Jose Bautista        
-8.3 6845  124   -6.7 331  927 .250 .362 .480 *95D/H8734
Hanley Ramirez       
-8.8 6940  126   21.1 266  895 .291 .362 .490   *63D/57H
Mike Hargrove        
-9.0 6694  121  -14.4  80  686 .290 .396 .391     *37H/D
Vic Wertz            
-9.0 7027  121   -8.0 266 1178 .277 .364 .469     93H7/8
Edwin Encarnacion   
-13.7 6947  124   -3.2 352 1054 .264 .353 .498     5D3/H7 


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/19/2018.

I'd have guessed a slightly stronger group, not that any of these are weak players. Bautista was an MVP-quality player at his peak, so Gibson is maybe the most similar player in profile. (Bill Dickey is only there because of the parameters of the search, not really a comparable player; but it's interesting that Dickey is a little better even as an offensive player, in terms of his entire career.)

EDIT: I'm not sure I'd ever heard of Kip Selbach, a turn-of-the-20th century outfielder for the old NL Senators and other clubs. Selbach, according to his SABR bio, was pretty good at baseball but even better at bowling, at one point among the top few bowlers in the United States.
   21. Walt Davis Posted: April 19, 2018 at 04:17 PM (#5656685)
Although he never got much MVP love (one 16th place finish), Lankford did have a 3-year stretch where he totaled 16.5 WAR.

If you look at some age-based comps, Bautista looks more like that stud player. Expansion era, ages 29-33, he's 18th in WAR with 30, in a group with Sandberg, Eddie Mathews, Sandberg, Utley, F Robinson and, surprising to me, Miggy. This was Sammy Sosa's peak and he had just 3 more WAR than Bautista. So he was quite awesome for those seasons/ages, he was quite good but the rest of his career has been pretty blah.
   22. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: April 19, 2018 at 04:38 PM (#5656702)
That's not how I remember it. First, Troy Glaus was a brave in 2010. Team still had this other guy making 3B then, with capable backups. Glaus was coming off an injury year were here only played 14 games, but the season before in 2008 he played 140+ at 3B. Before 2008 he didn't have an MLB appearance at 1B. But he'd had major shoulder surgery. I remember that there was concern about him being a full time 1B because he only had a handful of games at 1B up to then, but 1B was always the plan because Chipper was there at 3B.


This is correct. There was talk about Glaus at 3B because Melky Cabrerra was so bad in LF, and because prior to spring no one really thought Jason Heyward would break camp with the big league squad.
   23. Brian White Posted: April 19, 2018 at 10:15 PM (#5656874)
Glaus also started at third base in the final game of his career, game four of the 2010 NLDS. He was put there to improve the defense. No, really. Both Chipper and Martin Prado were already out for the season with injuries, which left the Braves having to start Brooks Conrad somewhere in the infield every game. Once Conrad got the defensive yips and started committing errors on like every other ball hit to him, they pretty much had to put Glaus at third.
   24. Rowland Office Supplies Posted: April 19, 2018 at 10:38 PM (#5656884)
Glaus also started at third base in the final game of his career, game four of the 2010 NLDS.


He started that crucial Game Two double play on the laser from Posey in extras. I remember Chipper laughing very, very hard about it.
   25. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 19, 2018 at 10:50 PM (#5656892)
Bautista has played MLB from ages 23-36, not counting this year. From 29-34, he compiled 34.8 WAR. From 23-28 and 35-36, he compiled -0.6.
   26. Greg K Posted: April 20, 2018 at 08:50 AM (#5656961)
When Glaus was on the Jays he always impressed me with his ability to charge soft grounders. I don't know if he was especially good at it, but it always surprised me given his hulking frame.

B-Ref has him as a +6 both years in Toronto (ages 29-30). Maybe he wasn't as immobile in his younger days as I imagined.
   27. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 20, 2018 at 09:01 AM (#5656964)
but it's interesting that Dickey is a little better even as an offensive player, in terms of his entire career.)

Dickey was a hell of a player. Overshadowed by Ruth/Gehrig/Dimaggio. With more longevity he'd be in the discussion with Bench and Berra for best ever (127 OPS+ vs 126 for Bench and 125 for Berra). But no pre-war catchers lasted very long.
   28. SoSH U at work Posted: April 20, 2018 at 10:21 AM (#5656996)

Bautista has played MLB from ages 23-36, not counting this year. From 29-34, he compiled 34.8 WAR. From 23-28 and 35-36, he compiled -0.6.


I wasn't a fan of Jose's, since I don't like guys who play angry (and few played angrier), but I think the only guy who had a more interesting career than him in the last 20 years is Beltre (the anti-Jose).
   29. Nasty Nate Posted: April 20, 2018 at 10:28 AM (#5657004)
Troy Glaus started a handful of games at shortstop in 2006; his first starts there as a professional.
   30. Greg K Posted: April 20, 2018 at 11:05 AM (#5657023)
Troy Glaus started a handful of games at shortstop in 2006; his first starts there as a professional.

I remember that. Fun times.

A couple years later the Jays also gave us the rare opportunity to see Kevin Millar turning a double play from the SS side of 2B (he had been playing 3B and was the only guy on that side of the field for a shift).
   31. Gaelan Posted: April 20, 2018 at 11:50 AM (#5657062)
According to that page, Jose has made $103,797,500 playing the game of baseball. That's more than all of Atlanta's players will make, combined, this year. Good for him to take a rookie out to dinner. (I'm serious - some guys hit the jackpot after a good year, then blow it all on twin yellow Lamborghinis and up their nose, and are never heard from again.)


I still can't believe Bautista turned down a 150 million dollar contract or something from the Jays. Was that ever confirmed?

That has to hurt, even with all the other millions sitting around in his mattress.
   32. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 20, 2018 at 12:08 PM (#5657077)
A couple years later the Jays also gave us the rare opportunity to see Kevin Millar turning a double play from the SS side of 2B (he had been playing 3B and was the only guy on that side of the field for a shift).
Did he get heeeeeem?
   33. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: April 20, 2018 at 12:49 PM (#5657098)
33-But hey, putting Bautista at third is no less shocking than the attempt at the beginning of the decade to bring Troy Glaus to camp as a 3B. If I recall, it lasted all of one game during the regular season.


In 2010 Glass started zero games at third base in the regular season....but then one game there in the playoffs (Game 4 of the NLDS—Atlanta’s Final game of the year.)

The cause? The Brooks Conrad Disaster! They benched him after he made 3 errors in game 4 (moved Glaus to third and Infante to second).
   34. Rally Posted: April 20, 2018 at 01:59 PM (#5657125)
I still can't believe Bautista turned down a 150 million dollar contract or something from the Jays. Was that ever confirmed?


The rumor was that being his asking price, not a team offer.
   35. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: April 22, 2018 at 11:48 AM (#5657954)
Joey Bats went 1-3 with a walk in his tune up start with the A+ Fire Frogs (Florida) last night. Flyout, flyout, single, walk. He led off and played 3B, until being subbed out after the walk. For the record, he did not make any of the six errors the Frogs turned in for the game.

He's currently sitting at 1-1 with a double and a walk in two plate appearances for the Frogs' day game today. Also leading off, also playing third.

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