Jose Bautista rumors haven’t linked him to any teams recently, likely causing the All-Star outfielder to shift his stance in free agency. Now Bautista is willing to sign a one-year contract, making him a more affordable option on the open market. A report by Yahoo! Sports suggests that it is now time for the Toronto Blue Jays and Bautista to come to terms on a contract. MLB analyst Jeff Passan goes on to state that while Bautista is ready to sign a one-year contract, he has some demands that come along with it.
When free agency opened, the Toronto Blue Jays extended a qualifying offer to Jose Bautista. This boils down to a one-year contract worth $17.2 million. Bautista and his agent ended up declining the qualifying offer in order to find a long-term deal on the open market. Nothing has surfaced that he wants to sign, though there have been numerous MLB rumors about where the outfielder could land. He hasn’t landed anywhere yet, which is why the shift in demands is taking place.
So what do the latest Jose Bautista rumors state? He wants to make more than the $17.2 million qualifying offer if he is going to sign a one-year deal with a franchise. It makes sense, as Bautista wants to save face, and he doesn’t want to miss out on what money he could have earned had he simply signed that qualifying offer. This is where the Toronto Blue Jays have an important decision to make, as the team could easily bring back Bautista on a one-year deal worth about $20 million.
After a rough 2016 MLB season, the demand for Bautista had diminished quite a bit. There weren’t as many teams competing for his services as anticipated, partially because he only posted a 0.234 batting average last year. Playing in just 116 games, Bautista also had 22 home runs, 69 RBIs, and a 0.817 OPS which was his worst since the 2009 MLB season. He was dealing with injuries, though, so it’s possible that Bautista could bounce back with a big 2017 season and reward any team willing to take a shot on him.
The Toronto Blue Jays are in a difficult position, as the team just lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency. Encarnacion signed a three-year, $60 million deal with the Cleveland Indians, leaving a big hole in the middle of the batting order for the Blue Jays. It will be tough enough to overcome losing Encarnacion, so the front office would be in a very tough spot if Bautista also signed with another club. With the option now on the table to offer Bautista a one-year contract, a move might be necessary to keep the fans happy.
Despite having to deal with all the Jose Bautista rumors and then Edwin Encarnacion signing with the Cleveland Indians, the Toronto Blue Jays have had to stay busy trying to improve the 40-man roster for the franchise. Additional offseason transactions for the Blue Jays include signing Steve Pearce on a two-year contract, signing Kendrys Morales on a three-year contract, exercising the 2017 option on pitcher Jason Grilli, and signing Lourdes Gurriel to a seven-year contract. Now the front office may need to re-focus its efforts on retaining Bautista.
There are a lot of teams around Major League Baseball that could use the boost that a three-time Silver Slugger could provide in the lineup. While no team has moved to the front of the line to offer Bautista a long-term free agent deal, adjusting his demands to include a one-year contract might cause many teams to pick up the phone again. With this latest bit of news coming from his agent, it is very clear that more Jose Bautista rumors could be coming out in the next week.
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