Reports had been swirling that Jose Bautista and the Jays were in active talks for over 24 hours. Now a deal has reportedly been finalized and pending a physical.
Joey Bats will be back with the Toronto Blue Jays next year. The agreement was first reported by BP Toronto and confirmed by Ken Rosenthal.
As later reported by Jon Heyman, Bautista’s contract will be worth $18 million guaranteed for one year of service with options and incentives capable of making it $60 million over 3 years, though that could be unlikely if these are mutual options. Bob Nightengale reports that the $18 million salary in year one could include a potential buyout.
Original reports had reported that the two parties were working on a 2 year deal, worth as much as 40 million. It’s clear now that the lengthy process saw the deal evolve multiple times.
For Bautista this is about as good as it gets, given the market. In an offensive season that has seen some of the biggest bats go unsigned, Bautista tops the $17.2 million Qualifying Offer, but only is on the hook for one year. This could allow Joey to turn his value around into a bigger paycheck next off season depending on structure.
For the Blue Jays this deal has resounding impact on the entire franchise. Offensively it shores up an otherwise shaky lineup. It answers the void in the OF, and makes it likely that Dalton Pompey, Ezequiel Carrera, and Melvin Upton compete for a platoon position in left field. The $18 million contract means that the Blue Jays will likely have close to $10 million to address their bullpen and sign a backup catcher with.
The rest of the off-season will be impacted heavily by today’s news, but for now, Jays fans can expect to see a familiar face on the Blue Jays’ opening day roster.