Anthopoulos: Bautista not expected to be in minors long

Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos discusses the signing of familiar face Jose Bautista to a minor league deal, says he has no doubts he can play 3B in majors and doesn’t think it’ll be long before he gets that chance.

Former Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista signed a one-year, minor-league contract with the Atlanta Braves Wednesday, but if all goes well he’s expected to join the big club soon.

Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos joined Sportsnet 590 The FAN’s Baseball Central Thursday to go over Atlanta’s plan for Bautista, who will be moving back to third base after spending the bulk of his playing time in the outfield in recent years.

“I don’t expect his stint in the minor leagues to be long,” Anthopoulos said. “We’re going to work with him on the program. We can make a decision pretty fast. We’re optimistic he’s going to have an opportunity to come up.

“He’ll be in extended spring training, he’ll get in some Florida State league games first, I would think, then from there we’ll decide where we need to send him. If he looks good and is playing well and we’re optimistic and encouraged, it should be a short stay and we’ll get him up here. If for whatever reason it doesn’t work out that way we’ll have a very candid conversation but I’m optimistic that he’s going to find his way here soon.”

While Atlanta does not seem to have an immediate need at third base with Ryan Flaherty hitting .365 with a .950 OPS, Anthopoulos acknowledged how the grind of a 162-game season will inevitably lead to injuries or dips in performance, making depth a big priority in assembling a team.

Anthopoulos, who was GM in Toronto for the majority of Bautista’s tenure with the team, also made it clear that others on his staff, including former Blue Jays hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, were vocal in their support of the signing. You can listen to the entire interview in the audio player below.

Baseball Central
Alex Anthopoulos: Optimistic Bautista will have a short stay in the minors
April 19 2018

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