Toronto Blue Jays: Will Jose Bautista Remain in Toronto After 2016?


Jose Bautista has reportedly expressed a desire to remain in Southern Ontario after 2016, but the ball is in the Toronto Blue Jays’ court.

While the rest of the sporting world may be split on Jose Bautista (look no further than the reaction to the bat flip “controversy”), the Toronto Blue Jays love him. However, we may be close to finding out exactly how deep this admiration goes, at least from a front office perspective.

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As per a report from Danny Gallagher of the Canadian Baseball Network, Bautisata has expressed a desire to finish his career in Toronto. This news came during an interview with the six-time All-Star’s agent, Jay Alou.

When asked what it would take to get Bautista to sign a new deal to remain in Southern Ontario, Alou said: “If the Blue Jays want Jose back, he’d be very happy to end his career there, but if they don’t want him, he will become a free agent.”

Unfortunately, this is yet another case of an agent doing what seems to be common practice these days, i.e. starting the negotiation in public, through the media. However, you could argue the tactic makes perfect sense, especially on this occasion.

Rightly or wrongly, the Blue Jays are already under pressure, after not even attempting to re-sign David Price. Coming so soon after losing Alex Anthopoulos, the front office isn’t exactly flavor of the month with fans.

Alou knows this, hence why he was more than happy to publicy declare his client’s position, and put the ball firmly in the Blue Jays court: “He’d be very happy to stay in Toronto.

Oct 21, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19) hits an rbi double during the seventh inning against the Kansas City Royals in game five of the ALCS at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

“We’ll see if Toronto wants to keep him. Jose is a hard worker – he works harder than anyone on the team.”

The Blue Jays recently exercised their $14 million team option on Bautista for the 2016 season. However, the clock is now slowly ticking down towards the three-time Silver Slugger becoming a free agent.

The question is, will the front office offer Bautista a new deal before his current one expires? Assuming they want to keep him, you imagine they will want this matter resolved before the former Pittsburgh Pirate draft pick gets a chance to test the free agent market.

Last time the two sides negotiated a deal, the Blue Jays ended up being the beneficiaries of a team-friendly deal – $65 million over five years. Interestingly though, it may not be the average yearly amount that proves to be the stumbling block.

Bautista keeps himself in fantastic shape, but the fact he is 35 could influence the length of any contract the Blue Jays decide to offer. However, you also know that someone out there will make him at least a five-year offer, if he is allowed to become a free agent.

Next: David Price deal highlights Jays biggest obstacle to success

Ultimately, we’re going to find out soon enough exactly how much the Blue Jays value Bautista (and arguably the fan base). Over to you Mark Shapiro………..