What to do with Jose Bautista?
September 18, 2010 12 Comments
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.
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.
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