This day in Braves history: Atlanta signs 6-time All-Star to minor league deal

The Braves signed a six-time All-Star slugger on this day in 2018.
San Francisco Giants v Atlanta Braves
San Francisco Giants v Atlanta Braves / Scott Cunningham/GettyImages

On this day, April 18, back in 2018, the Atlanta Braves made one of the most high-profile minor league signings in the team's recent history, as the club signed veteran outfielder Jose Bautista shortly after the start of the 2018 season.

This day in Braves history: Atlanta signs six-time All-Star to minors deal

Before he arrived in Atlanta, Bautista was already a known name across baseball due to his time with the Toronto Blue Jays.

In Toronto from 2008-2017, Bautista was a six-time All-Star as a member of the Blue Bays organization, slashing a combined .253/.372/.506 with 288 HR, 766 RBI, and 56 SB across those 10 years. Bautista was also one of the sport's top home run hitters with the Blue Jays, even leading the MLB in total HR during both the 2010 and 2011 seasons.

However, Bautista at the time was not brought back by Toronto after the 2017 season, with the then 27-year-old outfielder entering free agency. Bautista would go unsigned throughout that offseason as well and eventually signed a minor league deal with the Braves on April 18, 2018, where he would be assigned to extended spring training that same day.

Once in the Braves organization, Bautista would go on to appear in only a few minor league games before getting the call to the major leagues on May 4, 2018. However, it would come in a different place than what Bautista was known for defensively, as Atlanta would call him up to play third base instead of the outfield, which he had not done regularly at the MLB level since the late 2000s as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

As for Bautista's time in Atlanta, it would be fairly short-lived, as the veteran slugger appeared in only 12 games at the major league level with the Braves before being released on May 20, 2018. During that span, Bautista slashed a combined .143/.250/.343 with two HR and five RBI, while also posting a .933 FLD% across eight games at third base.

After being released by the Braves, Bautista went on to see time with both the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies across the remainder of the 2018 season, which would end up being the last of his 15-year MLB career.

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