Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista is reportedly willing to negotiate, and given the risk he’s taking by playing out his deal, this could benefit both sides
Jose Bautista has reportedly changed his mind.
Well, that’s assuming you’ve also believed every report that has come ahead of this. The $150 million demand, the over $150 million demand, the refusal to negotiate. The list goes on.
Resetting the story, the latest report from Jon Heyman is that Bautista actually would be open to negotiations.
Regardless of what you’re allowing yourself to believe at this point, the risk that Bautista himself is taking cannot be disregarded.
As one of the great right-fielders in baseball with one of the league’s most feared bats, what can the 35-year-old do to increase his value in 2016?
I’d argue: nothing.
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Another season of 40 home runs with an elite OPS and high RBI total would play beautifully for the Blue Jays, but at Bautista’s age, even a season that lands him in the top-10 of MVP voting would likely only keep his value neutral at the price he’s already set. Treading water, if you will.
Anything less, however, and he’s inviting question marks.
An injury to Bautista, for example, even one that has nothing to do with his age or performance level, welcomes the larger discussion of his decline and would breed hesitation among teams to offer him a deal of five or more years.
While the right to free agency is built for players like Bautista, and it’s unlikely he ever has the opportunity again at this value, he is essentially betting on himself with a risk that far outweighs the potential reward through 2016.
The same logic, in many ways, can be applied to Blue Jays designated hitter and first baseman Edwin Encarnacion, though he comes in slightly younger and with a lower expected asking price.