About a month ago, news came out that Jose Bautista was working out for the Dominican Republic national team for its Olympic qualifiers, but was doing so as a pitcher rather than a position player. Jeff Passan said at the time he had seen video of Bautista throwing and he looked pretty good and that Marcus Stroman said Bautista could pitch in a Major League bullpen right now.
Well now Bautista is working out with Stroman and it sure does look like he can pitch. Obviously you don't want to make too much of a judgment based upon a couple videos Bautista and Stroman chose to put out there, but I'll take Marcus Stroman's word for it when it comes to who can and can't pitch at the Major League level.
And those videos sure look like those of somebody who can throw a baseball pretty darn well. We've seen pitchers transition to position players a few times when things haven't worked out on the mound and two-way players like Shohei Ohtani, but I don't remember the last time a position player as good as Bautista was turned himself into a Big League-caliber pitcher.
He's 39 years old, so it's possible he could have one or two more seasons in the tank — and it's not like his arm has any wear and tear on it. Now I really want to see this happen, whether it be in the now-2021 Olympics or at the MLB level.
If we get baseball back any time soon, maybe we'll see some team take a flier on Joey Bats as a reliever.