Once the final out of the Blue Jays’ 2016 season was recorded, it only felt like a foregone conclusion; that was Jose Bautista’s final game as a Toronto Blue Jay.
The writing may have been on the wall the entire season, but now that the Blue Jays have extended a qualifying offer to Jose Bautista, it’s up to his camp to either accept or decline and test free agency.
Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion are the Blue Jays two most-talked about free agents-to-be, but big news of the day came from TSN’s Rick Westhead. He spoke to Edwin Encarnacion’s agent and revealed that EE’s asking price is around the 5 year/$125 million dollar mark.
However, lost in the shuffle was this little tidbit about Jose Bautista which came later in the feature video. Apparently, there isn’t quite the sense of finality between the Blue Jays and Bautista is one might think. Here’s what Rick Westhead had to say:
“The door is not closed however on Jose Bautista returning to the Jays. The Blue Jays brain trust are open to negotiating a multi-year deal with Bautista.”
Even if this is just a rumour, I believe this is the first we’ve heard all year that the Blue Jays would be willing to entertain a multi-year contract for Jose Bautista.
Mind you, it’s likely a far cry from the original 5 year/$150 million dollar ask that Rick Westhead initially reported back in February when Jose Bautista laid down his contract demands.
Earlier today, I kind of talked myself out of re-signing Edwin Encarnacion, but this latest rumour has me intrigued about bringing back Jose Bautista. Depending on the term and AAV, it could be a smart value move by the Blue Jays to re-sign Jose Bautista.
The caveat being that he would absolutely not be the Blue Jays’ everyday right fielder. In order to get the most out of Jose Bautista, the Blue Jays would either have to split his duties at DH or possibly give him some reps at first base.
MLB Trade Rumours predicts the Blue Jays might sign Jose Bautista for 3 years and $51 million dollars. At an AAV of $17 million, that seems like a reasonable price for Bautista.
As MLBTR suggests, with an opt-out built into the contract (similarly to what the Mets did with Yoenis Cespedes), Jose Bautista could enter the free agent market again next year if he so chooses.
I know it sounds crazy, but this really could be a value move by the Blue Jays … especially if Edwin Encarnacion’s asking price is as astronomical as it’s reported to be. So don’t rule out a Blue Jays-Joey Bats reunion just yet.