The journeyman turned perennial All-Star Jose Bautista is the next player who saw his career path take him to the New York Mets. In 2004, he spent about an hour with the team before being shipped to the Pittsburgh Pirates with Ty Wiggington and Matt Peterson for Kris Benson and Jeff Keppinger. This stint would last much longer than his 04′ cameo.
— SNY (@SNYtv) July 7, 2018
Bautista came to the Mets from the Atlanta Braves. He only played in 12 games before he was released and picked up by the Mets. Their outfield was decimated with injuries and needed a right-handed bat to replace the injured Yoenis Cespedes. At age-37, the Mets hoped he could rekindle some of the success he put together with the Toronto Blue Jays.
One of the exceptional abilities Bautista had in Toronto was drawing walks at a high rate. He led the AL in walks twice and had three seasons where he finished with more walks than strikeouts. For what the Mets signed him for, Bautista started strong during the first month and a half. Despite only hitting three home runs, he hit .266/.438/.506 with 24 walks and 28 strikeouts.
As the Mets feel out of contention, Bautista’s production dropped as well. In his last 48 games with the Mets, he hit .175 with six home runs. He walked 27 times but struck out 56 times. The Mets ended up trading him to the Philadelphia Phillies for a player to be named later or cash. During his time in Queens, he games the Mets versatility as he played five different positions. He also hit .310 with runners in scoring position, which is incredible because he only hit .204 with the Mets.
ðŸš€ from @JoeyBats19.
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 14, 2018
Mets fans will remember his walk-off grand slam against the Tampa Bay Rays. It was Bautista’s first walk-off home run, and it came with his classic showmanship. An accomplished glare at the ball with a subtler bat flip than the one from the 2015 ALCS.
Bautista did not land a deal for the 2019 season but is still pursuing another year in the show. This time he is trying to do it as a pitcher. At 39, it might be a little late for the position change, but he has the enforcement of former teammate Marcus Stroman. If he pulls it off, it will be another fantastic story to add to the roller-coaster career for Bautista.