Toronto Blue Jays: What now for Jose Bautista?

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 30: Jose Bautista
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 30: Jose Bautista /

With the Toronto Blue Jays officially confirming they won’t exercise Jose Bautista’s option for 2018, what does the future hold for the six-time All-Star?

As Jose Bautista left the field to a rapturous applause during the final home game of the season for the Toronto Blue Jays, a certain Charles Dickens’ quote came to mind: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

On the one hand, Bautista was getting a thoroughly deserved sendoff in likely his last game for the Blue Jays, after a spectacular career in Toronto. At the same time, he was going out on a low, with 2017 representing arguably his worst year since 2009.

On the positive side, the 36-year-old built up a fantastic resume in Toronto; including three Silver Slugger Awards, six All-Star selections and two Hank Aaron awards. On the opposite side, he was leaving the team having gotten close, but never actually reaching the pinnacle of professional baseball.

Overall, there’s no denying Bautista had more good times than bad in Toronto. Regardless, thoughts now turn to what the future holds for him.

As reported by Sportsnet‘s Shi Davidi. Ross Atkins confirmed the Toronto Blue Jays will not be picking up the mutual option for 2018. The general manager also added it was extremely unlikely the former Pittsburgh Pirate would be back next year.

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So where does this leave Bautista, who said he still plans to play in 2018? Unfortunately for him, his options will be limited.

The 2000 20th round draft pick had a poor season, when he needed one of his best. He had the second-worst batting average of his career in the Majors and showed he has now become a defensive liability.

It’s possible Bautista could get picked up by an American League team ,to play as a DH. As tough as 2017 was, he still managed 23 homers and 65 RBIs.

(While we might be reaching here, a lot of players would be happy with those statistics. Regardless, the Dominican Republic-born star will likely have to compromise considerably, on what he believes he’s worth.)

Whatever happens from here on out, Bautista can be safe in the knowledge he will go down as one of the best Toronto Blue Jays players in franchise history. However, given what we know about his personality, the chances are he will likely be more concerned (and haunted) by the fact he never brought a World Series championship to Southern Ontario.

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What do you believe the future holds for Bautista? Do you see ANY chance of him returning to the Toronto Blue Jays next year? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.