Toronto Blue Jays superstar Jose Bautista is entering the final season of the five-year, $65 million contract he signed in 2011 and is looking to cash in after establishing himself as one of baseball's most feared hitters.
Continue for updates.
Latest on Bautista's Reported Contract Demands
Wednesday, Feb. 24
According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, reports of Bautista wanting five years and $150 million are "not exactly accurate." He added that the demands include more years and money. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports confirmed Heyman's report but added that the average annual value was "below" $30 million.
Rick Westhead of TSN reported Tuesday that Bautista wants a five-year extension worth more than $30 million per year.
Bautista Comments on Reported Contract Demands
Tuesday, Feb. 23
"False," Bautista said, when asked about his reported $150 million extension demands, per Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.
"There's no negotiation," Bautista told Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet Magazine on Monday. "I told them what I wanted. They either meet it or it is what it is."
The team has yet to contact him since he made his demands.
Bautista Comments on Potential Hometown Discount
Monday, Feb. 22
When asked by Zwelling about giving the Blue Jays a hometown discount, Bautista said, "Doesn’t exist. Not in my world. In my eyes, I’ve given this organization a five-year hometown discount already."
He then offered more thoughts on the business side of baseball:
Bautista Provides Elite, Middle-of-the-Lineup Power
Bautista, 35, hit .250 with 40 home runs and 114 RBI in 153 games for the Blue Jays in 2015, helping lead the team to a playoff berth. It was his sixth straight season with at least 27 home runs and his fourth season in the last six years with 100 or more RBI.
The six-time All-Star and three-time Silver Slugger has shown little sign of slowing down well into his 30s, though his comments suggest that he wants the team to pay him for what he has done, not what he will do for the duration of his next contract. Bautista can certainly make a strong argument that he outplayed his previous contract by a significant margin.
One issue for the Blue Jays will be making an enormous financial commitment to a player who will be 36 to start the 2017 season. The general rule of thumb for a club when signing players is to pay them for what they are expected to produce going forward, not what they've produced in the past.
The other issue will be that the younger Edwin Encarnacion will also become a free agent after this season, and the Blue Jays almost assuredly won't be able to sign both players to extensions.
In other words, there are multiple obstacles between Bautista and the Blue Jays in contract-extension talks. Based on Bautista's comments and the Blue Jays' reluctance to respond to his demands at this point, it seems the sides are far apart on reuniting.
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