Jose Bautista had the worst year of his career in 2017. Although he stayed healthy and played 157 games for the Blue Jays last year, statistically, his .203 batting average was the worst among all qualified batters.
Nobody can pinpoint why the 37-year-old suddenly fell off a cliff. A lot can be attributed to his age, but Bautista is only two years removed from a 4.5 win season in 2015. The Blue Jays weren’t expecting him to replicate those results in 2017, but they couldn’t have foreseen his -0.5 win season in 2017.
Unless there was another explanation for his struggles at the plate. Peter Gammons seems to have an answer. Prior to speaking about the Hall of Fame ballot, Peter Gammons dropped this little nugget on MLB Network’s MLB Tonight about the former Blue Jays slugger.
(Bautista) finally took advice from friends and went and had his eyes checked. And the vision is just what his friends thought; really bad. So, now he’s getting used to his glasses – probably contacts.
Full video of the segment starts around the 40 second mark.
Gammons’ explanation makes some sense as to why Bautista completely fell off the map offensively, but I’m not completely buying this.
At MLB’s Winter Meetings, Bautista’s agent Jay Alou told reporters that Bautista discovered what was wrong with his swing. In this instance, this seems like Gammons playing the part of a proxy for Bautista’s agent in an attempt to market Bautista as a “fixed” player.
That’s not to say part of Bautista’s poor numbers last year may be attributed to poor eyesight, but why did his vision get that bad all of a sudden? It didn’t appear to affect his play in the 13 years prior, so why now?
Glasses or no glasses, the veteran outfielder will likely have to wait well into Spring Training to find a home to play in 2018.