Jose Bautista was given a hero’s send-off by the crowd in his final home game in Toronto last week. His tenure with the Blue Jays is over, but the veteran does plan to play in 2018, Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports.
Bautista, who turns 37 years old this month, had his worst season since becoming a regular in 2006. He hit .203/.308/.366 with 23 home runs, 65 RBI, and 92 runs scored in 686 plate appearances. His peripheral stats indicate a player who was legitimately declining, not just getting unlucky. Compared to 2016, he drew 4.6 percent fewer walks, struck out nearly five percent more often, pulled pitches nearly eight percent less often, made hard contact nearly nine percent less often, and chased pitches out of the strike zone five percent more often.
Given his age, eroding offense, and similarly eroding defensive capabilities, Bautista may have a hard time building a market this offseason. He may have to settle for a one-year, incentive-laden contract or even a minor league deal so teams are limiting their risk in signing him.