The Toronto Blue Jays would be more comfortable with a contract similar to the one signed by Yoenis Cespedes and the New York Mets
The Blue Jays reportedly have their own comfort zone in contract talks with Jose Bautista, and it’s one that is well below the rumoured demands of the All-Star himself earlier this spring.
According to a report from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the organization is targeting something in the three-year range.
“The Blue Jays only might be amenable to a Yoenis Cespedes-type deal, according to a major-league source,” Rosenthal writes.
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That deal between the New York Mets and Yoenis Cespedes covers three years at $75 million dollars. This is nearly half of the reported 5-year (or more) contract of $150 million (or more) that Bautista and his camp had in mind.
Bautista signing that deal is as likely as the Blue Jays offering the same deal to you or I, but the primary takeaway here should be the term of the contract. A deal of three years would take Bautista into his late-30s, but eliminate those troublesome fourth, fifth, and even sixth seasons where regression could hit like a hammer.
Again, though, Bautista would likely require a deal to be loaded with a high annual value, incentives, and/or option years.
The annual value of $30 million that has been heavily discussed through the offseason may look much more comfortable on a three-year deal. Even $31-32 million if push comes to shove, as the value of eliminating guaranteed fourth and fifth years is immense.
The bottom line is that a deal of this structure would be a backup plan for Jose Bautista, and backup plans don’t enter the picture until Plan A has been exhausted. The possibility that Bautista explores free agency while keeping contact with the Blue Jays remains real, and with something like this as a fallback plan, it also remains somewhat logical.