What to do with Jose Bautista?

Jose Bautista has pounded out a franchise record 48 home runs so far this season.

It is only human nature to be in awe of remarkable happenings that don’t come around too often. Has anyone ever seen Halley’s Comet? Well that comes around maybe every 75 years. The type of season that Jose Bautista has had this year with the Toronto Blue Jays may not quite compare to the sight of Halley’s Comet, but it is no less short of spectacular.

In one season Jose Bautista has gone from journeyman utility player to Major League home run king. His rise to fame has been quite a sight to watch day in and day out, but it begs the question, can Bautista duplicate his performance next season when all eyes will be on him to perform?

The Toronto Blue Jays have played better than anyone expected prior to the start of the season. This season was supposed to be a rebuilding year and after the departure of Roy Halladay all hope was lost. However, for some reason the Jays started to crank out the home runs faster than Usain Bolt’s 100 meter sprint. The burst has come from a number of unlikely sources including John Buck, current Braves shortstop Alex Gonzalez, and of course Jose Bautista. The home runs haven’t dried up and the Jays continue to lead the Major Leagues in total home runs while posting a record of 74-73 to date in the very competitive AL East division.

The Blue Jays are going to be seeing higher expectations amongst fans next year with all the young talent that is a part of the organization. The rotation looks to be set with the return of their top four starters who have proven their worth in Ricky Romero, Brett Cecil, Brandon Morrow and Shaun Marcum, plus Kyle Drabek who was the key piece in the Roy Halladay trade should be ready for the big show by next year. Big things are also going to be expected from young catcher J.P. Arencibia, shortstop Yunel Escobar, outfielder Travis Snider as well as “veterans” Aaron Hill, and Adam Lind.

For a team that is going so young it is very difficult to see where Jose Bautista fits into the scheme of things. It is without a doubt that Jose Bautista is going to want, and in my mind deserves a multi-year deal. However, for a player that has never posted more than 16 home runs in a season prior to this year and hasn’t once batted above .254, you have to wonder if it would really be a good idea for the Blue Jays to bring Jose Bautista back.

On the one hand there is the school of thought that now that Bautista has finally been given the opportunity to be an everyday player he has shown his true ability. Or you could be thinking that this is just a fluke year. Somewhat like Adrian Beltre’s final season in LA, before he signed on with the Mariners in 2005, in which he batted a whopping .334 while banging out 46 home runs. Except, I think (with no hard evidence to back it up) that that had something to do with steroids and Bautista is most likely not a steroid case in this day and age.

I lean more towards the school of thought that this season has been a one-hit wonder kind of thing. I guess that’s what most people think considering no one traded for the hot hitting Bautista at the trade deadline. Moreover, when it comes to the Blue Jays situation I think it is even more evident that they really don’t need Jose Bautista even if he can guarantee a couple more solid but not spectacular seasons.

Travis Snider has shown some serious star potential in his time in the Majors

For starters, the ridiculous contract of Vernon Wells doesn’t expire until 2014, and no team is willing or stupid enough to take that contract off of the Blue Jays’ hands. Secondly, the Jays have young players who are or soon going to be ready to make the jump to everyday starter. Travis Snider, who is supposed to be the franchise’s outfielder of the future is a right fielder (Jose Bautista’s position) although he can play all positions in the outfield. Also, the Jays traded first baseman Brett Wallace during the season for 20-year-old outfielder Anthony Gose.

Jose Bautista would be a great guy to hold the fort either in the outfielder or the infield while some of these young guys develop, but after this remarkable season you would think the price would be a little steep for a 30-year-old one-hit wonder. Furthermore, Bautista is going to be an everyday player but in the coming years the choice for the Jays to either play their future or their present, the choice is going to have to be the future, which leaves Bautista expendable.

Of course, it would be hard for the Jays to turn their back on a player who in 57 games since the all-star break has hit .300 with 23 home runs and 55 runs batted in, while also breaking the franchise record for home runs in a single season with 48 last night.

Yes, it would be difficult for the Jays to turn away Bautista and that’s why I think they won’t. However, if they do decide to bring him back I don’t think it will be the right choice. Just the fact that he doesn’t fit into their long-term plans and that he hasn’t actually proven anything over the course of his career makes you wonder what he can do after the age of 30.

Added onto all that is that Jose Bautista doesn’t have the typical physical build of a true home run hitter as he as listed at an even 6 feet and 195 pounds. Just another reason to think that he won’t be able to duplicate any of the magic that we have seen from this season.

It should also be noted that he has an OPS of just under .1000 and has been walked a whopping 93 times during the season. He has a cannon for an arm and plays solid defence.

Someone is bound to take a chance on Jose Bautista and as happy as I am to have been able to watch Jose Bautista throughout the 2010 season, I can’t help but be a sceptic and think that this is something we aren’t going to see from him again. With that being said I think it would be a good idea for someone to take on Jose Bautista for a reasonable price, but under the Blue Jays current situation it would be best for the Blue Jays to let this birdie fly from the nest.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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About Chris Ross
Questions, comments, suggestions? Send yours to cross_can15@hotmail.com. Follow me on twitter @paintstheblack

12 Responses to What to do with Jose Bautista?

  1. Jeremy says:

    The blog looks good! As for Bautista, I hope the Jays can lock him up even with the high price tag. At 29, I’m confident he has a lot of production in him for the next few years at least. Sure, he’s never done it before, but if you watch him play (like I’m sure you have), he’s just generally a much headier player than he was the past two years in Toronto. Aside from the homers, his plate discipline is incredible, and it’s not just a matter of guys pitching around him — case in point: He drew 13 walks in the first 10 games of the year while batting .194. Defensively, he’s much improved over last year both in right and at third. I’d definitely pay the price and lock him up, especially if the Jays are looking to make a push in the next couple years.

    By the way, thanks for the comment on my blog — keep them coming!

  2. Bootsass says:

    I think if they can put him on the field at least 70% of the time, then bring him back with an incentive laden deal…you play big, we pay big! That is if he’d even agree to that.

  3. I agree, Bautista will get signed to a HUGE long-term deal (with or without the Jays) and completely crap the bed.

    However, no arguement should be made that this guy “shouldn’t” or “isn’t” built to be a homerun guy. He has 48 dingers. He definitely can hit them. My only concern is his consistency. Can he repeat 48 HR’s ever again. Not likely. But he can definitely be a consistent 25+ HR guy every season. Agreeing with Jeremy. He is also a very huge threat defensively (knowing every position through and through) and playing each position with very great ball-sense. It’s so valuable to just be able to plug a guy in anywhere and know he’ll produce.

    All-in-all, this is a good write-up. I’ll be a tad-bit critical just to help you improve. This write-up is a bit too legnthy. Focus on the key elements in your arguement or statement and present them, percisely. I also have a blog, http://timsfantasyfacts.wordpress.com/, and have a problem with this as well. Keep up the good work bud. I look forward to hearing more from you. Check out my blog if you have time.

  4. Kristoffer Pedlar says:

    Nice write up Chris!
    I very much enjoyed reading your article and you make some really sound points.

    I think the standard logic is for the Jays to trade him while his value is at its highest. Let’s face it he will never be a an MVP again. But the intangibles that Bautista offers the Jays make him valuable. He is Dominican and Spanish speaking which makes him a great veteran for the young players coming up. Every team needs a solid veteran in the clubhouse, even a rebuilding one…maybe especially a young one.

    He can also fill many roles on the team. Bautista is capable of playing almost every position outside of catcher and pitcher and that is valuable at any point in time. He has one of the best arms in the league and is a servicable bat when hitting at his career average.

    I think the Jays may end up hanging on to him for those reasons. I do not expect him to ever come close to 50 home runs again, but he has a been a great member of that clubhouse this year. This is the first year the clubhouse hasn’t been in the news for bad blood and arguing.

    He likely won’t get $10 million. hat would represent more than a 400% increase in his pay. $7-8 million is more likely and it won’t set the franchise back like the Wells contract.

    I’m adding you on Twitter and will add you to my blogroll as well in the hopes it generates more traffic for your blog.

    Cheers,

    Kpedlar

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  7. elmaquino says:

    Bautista’s been accused by plenty of people for steroid use (this is the biggest hr spike between 2 seasons EVER). I really don’t think that’s justified with all the testing going on.

    We’ve mostly forgotten what 50HRs means. Bautista, who’s career high was 15 befor 2010, has come within 11 of the all-time record.

  8. Donald Dwyer says:

    I completely agree with you on this. Adrian Beltre was a great example from that Dodger year and I really think the team has a bright future. If Bautista can keep it up, the more the better. He just hit two homers last night on breaking pitches but something must be right. He is in the groove, lucky, or something, cause they are crazy how he hits it so perfectly. I don’t think the Jays win that many games without him this year. Let’s see what the future holds. All I know is it will be raining dingers in Canada which is where he hit a ton of his homers!

  9. Great post.

    He might be on the juice, but i hope that he stays with the Jays.

  10. Dustin Hull says:

    I think of what Beltre did, or what Brady Anderson did a while back, and now this. Great piece man.

  11. rkirsic says:

    He’s proven he’s a great player, 50+ home runs aside, and for this they should lock him up long-term.

    The Jays should also recognize this may be a fluky kind of year. I don’t think Jose will match this home run total ever again but the entertainment value alone in a season that has been so-so has been great.

  12. Nice post man. It will definitely be interesting to see how this all plays out as far as where Bautista ends up and if he gets the long term deal and money he will probably be looking for. As far as his production goes I don’t think this year was a complete fluke, but I don’t see him hitting 50 homers again. As a Pirate fan who went to many games during Bautista’s time there, he definitely showed some power and had some monster shots, he was just not able to hit very many of them. He is also turning 30, so it will be difficult for him to convince someone to give him a huge deal considering he is only hitting .259 this year. Thanks for commenting on my blog as well.

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