Jose Bautista will always be remembered for his time with the Toronto Blue Jays. It is fitting that is where his professional career will officially come to an end.
The Blue Jays announced on Friday that Bautista will sign a one day contract, retiring with the organization where he found stardom. Shi Davidi of SportsNet further reported that Bautista will be added to the team’s Level of Excellence on Saturday.
Toronto Blue Jays giving Jose Bautista fitting send off
This is not the first time that the Blue Jays have had such a ceremony. Roy Halladay had approached the team about doing something similar back in 2013. Fittingly, Bautista will also be the first person added to the Level of Excellence since Halladay during the 2018 season.
It is a well deserved honour for Bautista. He had been a bit of a journeyman before the Blue Jays acquired him for a player to be named later, eventually determined to be Robinzon Diaz, in 2008. While his first season in Toronto was relatively pedestrian, there were signs that he could break out as the organization tinkered with his swing.
That breakout happened in 2010. He belted a major league best 54 homers while being named to his first All Star Game. That kicked off a six year All Star run where Bautista was one of the more feared sluggers in the game, a key part of their run of success. Overall, he posted a .253/.372/.506 batting line in his 5272 plate appearances for the Blue Jays, hitting 288 homers. He is one of the greatest players in franchise history, ranking third with 38.3 bWAR. It would not be a surprise to see his number retired at some point in the future as well.
Jose Bautista is hanging up his cleats. He is signing a one day contract to retire as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.