UPDATE — 3:30 p.m. ET
Rosenthal’s latest report is that a one-year deal with a mutual option between Bautista and the Blue Jays will be the contract structure, if completed.
UPDATE — 9:00 a.m. ET
Multiple reports continue to confirm the ongoing negotiations between Jose Bautista and the Toronto Blue Jays. According to Ken Rosenthal, the two sides are discussing a deal worth $35-$40 million over two years.
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Original report — 7:00 a.m. ET
The Toronto Blue Jays and Jose Bautista are engaged in active contract negotiations, according to multiple reports, and could be nearing a deal.
Bautista and the Blue Jays have stood at arm’s length from one another through the off-season as past reports have not gone beyond the two sides simply keeping in contact.
Given Bautista’s soft market, due in large part to the compensatory draft pick attached to him, his price point now makes a great deal of sense for the Blue Jays and their positional need in right field. It has also been reported that Bautista prefers to return to the city where he built his reputation as one of the league’s most feared hitters.
That draft pick has been a stumbling block for the Blue Jays, too, as signing Bautista would mean that they do not receive the compensatory selection. Toronto does have their own first-round pick and an additional one thanks to losing Edwin Encarnacion, however, so there are ample draft assets to work with.
Bautista, 36, battled injuries in 2016 and was held to just 116 games. Despite playing below full health, however, the Dominican put up an .817 OPS and maintained a very strong on-base tool. For a time, he was even the Blue Jays’ leadoff hitter. His 2017 numbers, if healthy, should return closer to his dominant averages over the past several seasons.
The contract details on any potential deal will be particularly interesting as Bautista’s free agency is far from normal. Bautista could accept a one-year deal, prove his worth, and then continue to cash in year after year through his late-30s, or the two sides could get more creative with a second option year.
More details on this story as it unfolds.