Phillies Nuggets with Tim Kelly

Former Phillie Jose Bautista attempting comeback as two-way player


Jose Bautista spent part of the 2018 season with the Phillies. (Ian D’Andrea)

Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani won’t be the only two-way star in baseball in 2020 if a former Philadelphia Phillies outfielder has any say.

According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, Jose Bautista “spent this winter working out as a pitcher in hopes of returning as a two-way player.” Passan added that he’s been told that Bautista’s fastball can reach 94 mph or that he has a slider with “legitimate tilt” in his arsenal as well.

Bautista plans to compete for the Dominican Republic in their upcoming attempt to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Though Passan added that it’s unclear if Bautista will pitch for the Dominican Republic, his offensive output will be monitored by potential suitors, because if it’s determined that he can no longer hit at a major league level, the idea of him returning to the majors in an Ohtani-type role would be squashed pretty quickly.

Though it’s funny to think of him as a Phillie, Bautista’s last major league action did come with the Phillies in 2018. After being acquired in an August waiver trade, Bautista hit two home runs and drove in six runs in 45 at-bats with the team. He hit just .244 in that small sample size, but Bautista walked 11 times, making him somewhat of a valuable bench addition even as the Phillies collapsed as a team.

Bautista split the 2018 season with three National League East teams, also playing with the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets. He hit for a low average – .203 – but homered 13 times, drove in 48 runs and drew 67 walks.

Now 39, Bautista has played for eight different franchises, but is most remembered for his 10-season stint with the Toronto Blue Jays. During his decade playing in The Six, Bautista slugged 285 home runs and made six All-Star teams. His go-ahead home run in Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS – and subsequent bat flip – is one of the most iconic (and debated) moments in recent baseball history.

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