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From a player whom many thought of as a bust, a major league hopeful, and, at best, bench player stuck on the bottom of the 40-man roster, to the most polarizing player in Canadian Sports History...
And back to where nobody sees any significance.
Here's how Jose Bautista went from worst, to first, and back to worst.
Many know Jose Bautista not only just for his incredible power and prowess at the plate, but more for this clutch moment in the 2015 ALDS against the Rangers:
This seventh-inning go-ahead home run brought hope, inspiration, and better yet, Toronto's first somewhat successful playoff appearance since winning the World Series in '94 and '95. The Blue Jays, however, would not appear in the world series that year.
Although ultimately coming up short, Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, and R.A. Dickey brought Toronto a competitive, enjoyable, action-packed postseason to one of the game's least entreating teams at the time. Coincidently enough, now that R.A. Dickey and Jose Bautista are no longer with the club, they haven't gone back to the playoffs yet.
Tuesday, August 28, the New York Mets traded "Joey Bats" to the Philadelphia Phillies. His third team this year alone.
Most see Bautista as a strong, competitive player that has, at minimum, five or six seasons left. Many also don't know that he has been in Major League Baseball for 17 seasons.
At the not so tender age of 37, Bautista is one of the older players in baseball, at any level. At his current level and age, this might be it. Let's see why.
Starting his career in June of 2001, Jose Bautista was drafted the 20th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates. There, he would remain no higher than 12 games in High-A class ball, throughout the course of three seasons.
In 2004, after being drafted by Baltimore in the rule five draft, he was forcefully brought to the Major Leagues, although the O's front office became increasingly reluctant to do so. He would spend all of 16 games in Baltimore before being DFA'd, and claimed off waiver by the Tampa Bay Rays.
Staying with the Rays for a record 12 games, Kansas City wanted in on the unproductive roster fill in, purchasing him for $380k on June 28th.
A month later he would be traded for first-baseman Justin Huber from the Mets.
Quick disclaimer, reading this over and over to my self again, baseball-reference and retro-sheet, include some different players in this next transaction, so I'll try to explain it the best I can:
That same day that the Mets took Bautista, (the trade deadline) before he could even suit up, he was traded with a minor leaguer by the name of Matt Peterson, an all-star infielder Ty Wigginton back to Pittsburgh. New York would receive pitcher Kris Benson and INF Jeff Keppinger.
In one year, over the course of four months, Jose Bautista would be associated with five teams, and only play for four.
In an interview with ESPN, and MLB Media, he would go on to say: "A lot of factors came together for me to change my career path. In Baltimore, Gene Tenace, Dwayne Murphy, sat me down and let me know how highly they thought of my defensive capabilities. They told me that I needed to go to work and make some adjustments, letting me know its gonna take some time and to trust the system."
In the begging of the 2010 season, it became apparent that all the time spent in the cage and all the time taking grounders paid off a little. Being selected for his first all-star appearance, Bautista hit .260, an OBP of .378, slugging for a remarkable .617, with an astounding league-leading 54 home runs.
Setting the world ablaze in only his second season with Toronto, in whom he was traded to for catcher Robinzon Diaz back in '08, Bautista made it his mission to make his name the only one that mattered in baseball.
Being compared to Toronto legends like Fred McGriff, Tony Fernandez, and Carlos Delgado.
What do all four of these players have in common? All had been elected all-stars at least five times in their careers, and with the exception of Fernandez, all were 3x silver sluggers.
For any player, never mind one that no team had even dared contemplating his addition, it marks an incredible career in any aspect, at any age and or time.
Spending all of ten-plus seasons with Toronto, Bautista, would outlast his contract until 2017, signing a one-year extension.
With the team that he had brought fame, and a number of awards, and a handful of playoff appearances, the Blue Jays decided against resigning an extension deal. This would send an aging and relatively less productive defensive liability outfielder to the free-agent market.
With seasoned agent Jay Alou handling Bautista's affairs, he became rather selective. After declining offers from the Angles, the Rangers, and the Mariners, he remained unsigned going into the 2018 season.
On the 28th of April, 2018, he signed in desperation with the Atlanta Braves where he would last all of a month playing 12 games and hitting a dismal .143, .250, .343. Striking out 30 percent of the time, the once perennial all-star was left with five hits after 40 ABs.
After getting picked up by, ironically of all teams, the Mets, he would play around the Mendoza line for months. Hitting .204, a somewhat decent .351 OBP, and slugging an average .367 through 83 games, and 245 ABs.
Until Tuesday, it seemed that Bautista might have finally found another home after Mets GM Sandy Alderson expressed his interest in Bautista's name remaining on the line-up card.
In his debut with Philly, Bautista went 0-1 striking out swinging on three pitches.
After defying the laws of traditional baseball scouting. After redefining persistency. Showing all of professional baseball that he was, in fact, a superior player in the process...
Is back where he started.
In total, Jose Bautista has donned the uniform for eight organizations, in 17 campaigns.