Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista is feeling quite adamant about his next contract, whether it’s going to be with him returning to “the 6” or not. Bautista, 35, is playing in his last season of a club-friendly, five-year/$65 million contract. The Jays exercised Bautista’s $14 million team-option for the 2016 season after he hit 40 home runs and drove in 114 runs in 2015. In the process, Bautista lead the Jays’ to an AL East title and his first playoff appearance in his twelve-year career. Over the past six seasons, Bautista has led the majors in home runs with 227 and only trails Miguel Cabrera in slugging (.555) and OPS (.945).
About two weeks ago, Blue Jay executives asked Bautista to give them “a number” on what it would take to bring the slugger back to Toronto, perhaps for the rest of his career. Bautista answered this question yesterday, saying that he gave the team an answer and is not willing to negotiate any further. He will be 36 this October, and reports are showing that Joey Bats is seeking a deal in the five-year, $125 million range, which is a lot to commit too, especially knowing that the deal will run into his 40’s.
Bautista is an offensive-minded player with a career oWAR of 37.3. Yes he has a good arm, but he lacks speed and range in the outfield. He has a career dWAR of -7.1, and in my mind, not worth the risk. Bautista is a great player and can very well hit over 30 home runs a year even as he ages, but the risk-reward factor is too up-in-the-air to gamble on.
Bautista knows how much he is worth, and it just may be out of Toronto’s price range, forcing them to cut ties with the slugger who would be in Toronto for nine years after the 2016 season. Perhaps the Jays’ can find a trade suitor for Bautista as the 2016 Trade Deadline comes along in order to get back some worthy prospects, if the team knows they are not going to re-sign Bautista in the offseason. In my opinion, Bautista will, most definitely be playing for another big market AL team come next season. I can see the Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, and the New York Yankees being in contention for the coveted hitter next offseason.