Jose Bautista’s return to Major League Baseball didn’t last long at all.
After signing with Atlanta in April — and taking a conditioning trip back to the minors — the Braves released the 37-year-old third baseman after playing in just 12 games with the National League East leaders.
The Braves have released Jose Bautista. Anthopoulos says Camargo will be the everyday third baseman.
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) May 20, 2018
The deal reunited Bautista with his former general manager in Toronto, Alex Anthopoulos, yet the spark they created with the Blue Jays hardly carried over to Atlanta. In 40 plate appearances, the slugger registered just five hits, including two home runs, with five walks and 12 strikeouts. His slash line dropped to a paltry .143/.250/.343. Couple that with the fact that Atlanta has a legitimate shot at contending for the division title and it’s extremely difficult to justify keeping Bautista on the roster.
Instead the Braves will turn to Johan Camargo at third base. The 24-year-old in his second MLB season is slashing .226/.368/.403 with 13 RBI, 13 walks and 14 strikeouts in 24 games this year. Atlanta also recently promoted Austin Riley to their Triple-A club in Gwinett, where he’s responded by hitting .306/.352/.510 with three home runs in 12 games. Riley is currently ranked as baseball’s 77th overall prospect (4th-ranked third baseman) and factors more into the Braves’ longterm plans.
#Braves GM Anthopoulos said staff decision was made Saturday to give every-day at-bats to Camargo, AA talked to Bautista last Saturday night, all parties agreed no sense being on roster with no at-bats available.
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienAJC) May 20, 2018
A perennial MVP candidate just a few years ago, Bautista barely had time to settle in to his new clubhouse before he was out of work again.
There might still be a few teams out there interested in his services, but it doesn’t seem likely after his poor showing in Atlanta. We’ll still have one of the greatest bat flips in history to remember him by if this is indeed the end for Joey Bats.
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