Jose Bautista isn’t ready to call it quits just yet. The Phillies outfielder told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he still intends to suit up in 2019, and hopes to do so for a contending team. His contract is set to expire at the end of the regular season, at which point he’ll test free agency for the third time this year.
It hasn’t exactly been a banner year for the 37-year-old, however, and finding a home among the league’s top contenders may prove more difficult than expected. Bautista currently carries a cumulative .199/.340/.370 batting line, 12 home runs, and a .711 OPS through 385 plate appearances for the Braves, Mets, and Phillies, and while he’s found the most success in Philadelphia this year, he’s far removed from the 40+ homer, .250+ average slugger of days gone by.
That said, offense isn’t everything, and Rosenthal points out how valuable Bautista has been to NL East teams over the last few months, both in his defensive versatility and the mentorship he’s provided to younger players on the roster. This season alone, he’s seen games at first, second, and third base, as well as both outfield corners — showcasing the kind of flexibility that may make him an intriguing addition to another major league roster next year.
On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.
After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.
Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.
The full statement:
Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.
We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.
We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.
Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.