All eyes are on the Atlanta Braves after their surprising 9-7 start. Atlanta is known for having one of the brightest farm systems in all of major league baseball. They even have the heralded top prospect waiting in the wings in Ronald Acuna who is expected to receive that call up in a few weeks after they can delay his service time clock. However, With the Braves in the mix of things in the NL East, Atlanta is bringing in a cagey veteran to add some depth. The Braves have agreed to a minor league contract with Jose Bautista.
Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports was the first to report the news:
bautista will get $1M if in majors. incentives. #braves
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) April 18, 2018
Bautista has been lingering out on the open market this entire time after a poor 2017 season. The Blue Jays declined their half of the mutual option to make Bautista a free agent this offseason. A market for him failed to materialize and Bautista has been forced to take a minor league deal with some major league incentives. The Braves really seem to be an odd fit considering that Acuna will get called up at some point.
Then again, maybe not. The Braves were not happy with their top prospect for a crazy reason during spring training. Who knew that wearing your hat not perfectly straight could get an organization fuming. Maybe he spends more time in AAA then we originally anticipated.
Bautista will forever be known for his heroics with the Blue Jays including the best bat flip in major league history. The interesting part of this deal is Alex Anthopolous, the Braves gm, was the one who gave Bautista regular plate appearances when he ran the show with Toronto. Maybe Anthopolous knows that Bautista isn’t finished just yet.