Jose Bautista receives standing ovation in likely final home game as a Blue Jay
The Blue Jays are not expected to bring Bautista back next season
In all likelihood, Jose Bautista's time with the Toronto Blue Jays will soon come to an end. His production has slipped at age 36 -- Bautista will turn 37 in October -- and the Blue Jays are expected to declined their half of the $17 million mutual option in his contract for next season, making Joey Bats a free agent.
On Sunday, the Blue Jays played and won (TOR 9, NYY 5) their final home game of the 2017 regular season, and since the club is not going to the playoffs, it was the last time for the Rogers Centre faithful to see Bautista as a home player. Manager John Gibbons pulled Bautista from the game in the top of the ninth so he could get a big standing ovation as he came off the field, and of course the crowd obliged. Check it out:
Your right fielder, No. 19, José Bautista. pic.twitter.com/gzsNOdkW6G— Blue Jays (@BlueJays) September 24, 2017
Bautista went 2 for 4 with a run scored, a run driven in, and a walk in Sunday's game. He popped up in foul territory in his likely final at-bat as a home player in Toronto. He received huge ovations each time he stepped to plate and each time his at-bat ended, regardless of outcome.
When it's all said and done, Bautista will go down as one of the most productive players in Blue Jays history. The six-time All-Star and two-time home run champ is all over the franchise leaderboard:
- Games: 1,229 (5th)
- Runs scored: 788 (3rd)
- Hits: 1,099 (6th)
- Total bases: 2,202 (4th)
- Home runs: 287 (2nd to Carlos Delgado)
- RBI: 763 (3rd)
- Walks: 802 (2nd to Delgado)
- WAR: 35.8 (3rd among position players, 5th among all players)
At some point in the future Bautista's name figures to be added to the Level of Excellence, the ring around the 500 level at Rogers Centre in which franchise greats are honored. Roberto Alomar, Paul Beeston, George Bell, Joe Carter, Tom Cheek, Delgado, Tony Fernandez, Cito Gaston, Pat Gillick, and Dave Stieb currently occupy the Level of Excellence. Bautista and Roy Halladay are next in line to be added.
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