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Braves sign Jose Bautista to minor-league deal

Bautista will head to extended spring training, serving as a potential third baseman for Atlanta.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Braves have signed Jose Bautista to a one-year, minor-league contract, according to a team announcement. Bautista, who will start in extended spring training, will try third base for Atlanta.

Bautista will earn $1 million in the majors on the deal, which includes no incentives, per FanRag’s Jon Heyman.

Bautista, who turned 37 last October, went unsigned for the entirety of the offseason despite rumors of interest from the Rays and other clubs. Atlanta was reported as a potential contender late in the winter, with new general manager Alex Anthopoulos very familiar with the slugger from their shared days in Toronto.

Bautista hit just .203/.308/.366 with 23 homers and 65 RBI in 157 games for the Jays last year after re-signing with the club on a surprising one-year, $18.5 million deal. The club declined their end of a mutual option for 2018, making Bautista a free agent for the second straight year.

Bautista has appeared at six different positions throughout his career, with the brunt of his work with Toronto coming in the outfield. Nevertheless, Atlanta will try him at the hot corner, where he made five appearances last year and has 394 games throughout his 14-year major-league career. The Braves have not found a long-term answer at third this year, with Ryan Flaherty and Charlie Culberson serving as primary options while Rio Ruiz (minors) and Johan Camargo (disabled list) have not yet made an impact.