The Toronto Blue Jays are already mapping out a negotiation strategy for one of their sluggers poised for a big-money free agency. While one of their pending free-agents, Edwin Encarnacion, has made it quite clear that he won’t negotiate during the season, Toronto is turning their attention to Jose Bautista.
As first reported by Rick Westhead of TSN.ca, Bautista is seeking a hefty $150 million, 5 year deal. Apparently the Jays aren’t interested in paying Bautista that type of money and according to Jon Heyman they are more interested in a “Cespedes type deal,” which would likely mean a deal for three years for around $25 million a year on average.
It’s half of what Bautista is looking for in a new deal and it is unclear how interested he would be in the rumored Toronto offer but my money is on that he would be much more interested in testing the market for a better contract. Bautista will be selling his services by pointing to his production throughout his career, where no drop off has been cited even though he is 35.
Whether or not any team is willing to lock up Bautista in a big money deal that takes him to age 41 remains to be seen, but Toronto is making it clear what they are willing to do.
Bautista is hitting .230 with 12 home runs in 65 games this year, a season marred by a toe injury that has placed him on the DL.
Is that enough to keep Bautista in Toronto? Only time will tell.