Atlanta Braves Make Surprising Move Signing Jose Bautista

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 1: Jose Bautista
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 1: Jose Bautista /

The Atlanta Braves made a surprising move this afternoon signing veteran slugger Jose Bautista to a minor league deal. Bautista will go to extended spring training playing third base.

Two months ago the Atlanta Braves were looking for outfield help and settled on Preston Tucker, after talking with Jose Bautista. Since then Tucker and Lane Adams have both impressed early providing plenty of outfield depth.

Signing Jose Bautista would have made sense earlier in the year.  Now it is a confusing move for a team with an overfilled bench.  Bautista playing third provides a bit of clarity, however, pointing to the fact the Braves don’t trust Ryan Flaherty.

Flaherty has gotten off to a blazing hot start at third base providing consistent contact and clutch base hits.  He is currently hitting .354 and defending at a high level.

Flaherty does little to address the lack of power in the Braves current lineup. If Bautista proves himself capable of transitioning back to the hot corner it would help address that problem.

Bautista is a powerful hitter that would make a good Braves lineup even better.  He will report to extended Spring Training and work on proving to the Braves he is worth a roster spot.

With a full roster how soon Bautista could transition to playing with the Braves is anyone’s guess. My personal opinion? It will be a matter of a few games before the Braves decide to add Bautista to the team or to move on.

Bautista would slot into the lineup nicely in the four or five hole making the Braves lineup deep and adding a second power threat behind Freddie Freeman.

Jose is a career .250 hitter and has had at least 20 homers in all of his last eight seasons.  The biggest question mark about this move is both the roster spot and if he will be capable of playing the hot corner.

The Braves have certainly started worse players, but with the recent emphasis on defense, Bautista will have to prove he can handle the position.

If he does it is a great signing offering a bounce-back opportunity to one of the best power hitters of the past decade.  His .203 average last season and the fact he is thirty-seven is the reason he was still in a sluggish market.

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The Braves have little to lose in this Minor League deal a deal that offers only upside for an overachieving lineup.  More on this story is sure to come.