There’s a ‘but’, of course, which in this case is Bautista’s asking price. Passan reports that if Bautista were to take a one-year deal “…he wants it to be at a higher value than the qualifying offer.”
Bautista certainly doesn’t lack the confidence to continue betting on himself on a string one-year deals, and after seeing Carlos Beltran sign a one-year deal with a contender (Houston Astros) for $16 million when he’ll be turning 40 within the first month of the season, there’s reason to believe it can be done successfully.
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Where this becomes particularly relevant to the Blue Jays is in Bautista’s reported desire to stay.
“That’s where his heart is,” a person close to Bautista told Passan. “He wants to go back there.”
Even beyond the emotional side of this situation — which is significant — Bautista has a long list of reasons to view Toronto as the ideal landing spot. His existing endorsement deals (especially local ones) north of the border could continue to grow if he sticks around, something that could become more difficult if he hops from team to team over his final seasons.
Toronto is also, frankly, the only place where Jose Bautista is Jose Bautista. He’s the King in this market, more deeply rooted than any player on the current Blue Jays roster. That won’t immediately be the case if he lands somewhere like Los Angeles, regardless of how league-wide Toronto fans believe his appeal to be.
All of this matters, and if you’re a Blue Jays fan hoping against all odds for Bautista to return, it’s a sliver of good news. Until that pesky draft pick is considered. Bautista’s declined qualifying offer continues to be the brick wall between he and the Blue Jays.
Coles Notes version: Were the Jays to sign him, they’d be forfeiting the opportunity to receive a compensation pick when another team eventually does.
A pick at the end of the first round could be valued by some organizations to have a value of $6-$10 million — potentially even slightly higher — given the affordable future value that could produce. Bautista is, unfortunately, looking like the player this off-season that will have their value completely sunk by that pick.
If a one-year deal above the qualifying offer amount were to be, say, $20 million, it’s still a tempting splash for the Jays, but the most important road blocks haven’t changed.