The wounded Mets’ outfield corps will be receiving some much needed reinforcement, as the Mets signed outfielder Jose Bautista to a major league deal today, and he will be active for tonight’s game against the Miami Marlins.
The 37-year old outfielder has struggled to find success in the waning years of his career, hitting for slash lines of .234/.366/.452 and .203/.308/.366 in 2016 and 2017, respectively. The Blue Jays chose not to extend his contract at the end of the 2017 season, and Bautista found himself as a free agent to begin the first couple of weeks of the season until the Braves signed him to a minor-league contract in the middle of April.
Bautista began his tenure with the Braves with their Triple-A team, the Gwinnett Stripers, before he was called up to the Braves on May 4th to play at third base. Bautista struggled offensively and defensively in the short amount of time he spent with the Braves, hitting with a .143 BA and 63 wRC+, and fielding with -2 DRS at third base, which ultimately led to his release this past Sunday.
The structure of the contract is slated to be a 1-year, major league contract, though he will likely play on a minimum contract. With Juan Lagares’s season effectively over, and with no timetable for Yoenis Cespedes’s return, Bautista will provide outfield depth and a right-handed bat for an all-lefty starting outfield. This deal is a low-risk, low reward move given the scenario where Bautista performs poorly, the Mets will face virtually no negative consequences if they cut Bautista due to his cheap contract, and they could potentially reap his meager value if he performs above expectations.
EDIT: Bautista will be starting in right field tonight, as he will bat fifth in the order.
Photo Credit: Associated Press