Braves sign Jose Bautista, plan to use him at third base
The Atlanta Braves have thrown everyone a curveball with the signing of Jose Bautista to a minor-league deal.
The Braves announced the surprising deal on Wednesday with an even more unexpected twist — Bautista will report to extended spring training and begin working at third base.
The Atlanta #Braves today agreed to terms with free agent infielder José Bautista on a one-year minor-league contract for the 2018 season, and he has reported to Atlanta’s extended spring training complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. He will play third base.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) April 18, 2018
Alex Anthopoulos, who was part of the Toronto Blue Jays front office that acquired Bautista, is currently GM of the Braves, so the links are there.
Bautista hasn’t played regularly at third base since 2011, though he came up as one when he was much younger. The hope may be that he can eventually take over the hot corner at the MLB level from Ryan Flaherty, who isn’t a permanent solution despite a hot start.
The question is what Bautista’s bat has left to offer. He hit just .203 with 23 home runs for Toronto in 2017, and he had to fend off retirement rumors as recently as last month.