After starting off the season as the team's starting third baseman for the second straight year, Bautista slowly lost favor with management when his production wasn't up to par. He lost playing time to Doug Mientkiewicz for a while, earned the starting role back, and then lost it all together on Aug. 1, when Andy LaRoche made his Pittsburgh debut.
The Pirates then optioned Bautista down to Triple-A Indianapolis on Aug. 13 after Bautista saw scant playing time at the Major League level for nearly two weeks. Bautista admitted to being caught off guard by the demotion and expressed dissatisfaction with what he saw as a lack of opportunity.
He also suggested that changing organizations could be beneficial at this point in his career.
"We'll see how things go," Bautista told reporters that night. "I think [an organization change] would definitely work my way if there is a change, so I am definitely open to that."
It was clear, too, that there would be little opportunity for Bautista to fit into the team's future plans. The position is LaRoche's currently, and the Pirates have Neil Walker, one of the organization's top prospects sitting in Triple-A. Not to mention, Pedro Alvarez, the recently signed No. 2 pick from this year's First-Year Player Draft, is expected to be on the fast track to the Majors as a third baseman.
Bautista had a .242 average this season for Pittsburgh, the second lowest average among all National League third baseman. He hit 12 homers and had 44 RBIs.
The 27-year-old infielder came to the Pirates in a 2004 multi-player deal with the Mets at the Trade Deadline. In parts of five seasons with the big league club, Bautista finished with a .241 average, 43 homers and 159 RBIs.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.