Jose Bautista didn’t find the market he was hoping for and has opted to stick with the one who brought him. Bautista’s contract is reportedly a 1 year, 18 Million deal with two options. The first is a mutual option next year, the second is a vesting option for the year after. There is believed to be a 1 million dollar buyout for next year. All in all the deal can range from anywhere between 19 Million to 60 Million.
The deal is a far cry from the 5 year 150 Million that Bautista was reportedly asking for a year ago. That request however, was clearly never going to come to pass. For one, Bautista now 36 is reaching the end of his peak career trajectory. He had one of the worst seasons of his career last year, batting .234 with a 16.8 walk rate, 22 home runs, and 1.4 fWAR. Additionally he has become a liability in the field and his speed on the bases has significantly slowed. Not to mention all of the baggage that seems to come with his presence. On top of all that there are some new injury concerns as Bautista posted the lowest plate appearances since 2012 after missing time with several injuries. Finally, one of the biggest pieces of baggage weighing down Bautista was the declined qualifying offer which meant that not only did any any aspiring team have to pay his salary demands, but they would have to fork over a 1st round draft pick to do so.
Bautista, meanwhile, returns after grandstanding last spring when he and the Blue Jays held fruitless extension talks and he told reporters, “If this is going to happen, I think it should be natural, organic, quick and easy, it shouldn’t be a pull and tug about a few dollars here or there. I didn’t want to waste any time, I didn’t want to waste their time or their effort, so they can start planning ahead, and if it’s not going to happen they have plenty of time to do so. … There’s no negotiation, I told them what I wanted. They either meet it or it is what it is.”
So now Bautista is back in Toronto, for at least one more year, and only time will tell who got the better end of the deal, and if there are any hurt feelings over the long drawn out conclusion that seemed all to certain.