Blue Jays’ Bautista informed re: contract option?

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 30: Jose Bautista
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 30: Jose Bautista /
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One the worst kept secrets in baseball has likely already taken place, as the Blue Jays (reportedly) declined Jose Bautista’s contract option for 2018.

All good things must eventually come to an end, and that’s the case for the Blue Jays in a number of ways this October. They’re missing the postseason for the first time since 2014, moving into an early offseason and trying to regroup before the 2018 campaign. They’re also preparing to move on to a new era of Blue Jays’ baseball, one that doesn’t include Jose Bautista for the first time in a decade.

The long time Blue Jay great had a contract option for 2018 on his latest deal, but the Blue Jays decided to decline that option, making him a free agent again for the second time in two seasons.

According to Shi David of Sportsnet, the Blue Jays (likely) informed Bautista of his fate a few weeks ago, as they’ve celebrated his tenure with the team down the stretch. As Davidi (hopefully correctly) points out, “there’s no way the Blue Jays would have celebrated him the way they did during the final homestand leading up to last Sunday’s emotional farewell without giving him advanced notice”. At least let’s hope not.

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The 36 year old will enter the offseason with a lot to prove, and a lot of question marks around his future. He had the worst season of his professional career in 2017, and he’ll be a free agent for the second consecutive year, after it didn’t go the way he had hoped last year. Remember, it was just a few years ago that the rumours of 100-150 million dollar contract demands were rumoured to have been thrown around, and now here we are.

Thankfully it looks like the two sides are prepared to depart on decent terms, despite the awkward nature of the situation. Bautista has been the face of the franchise for a long time, and the potential existed for hurt feelings as his time in Toronto wound down. If that happened, he didn’t let it bleed on to the field, or into the media.

"“…there’s no way the Blue Jays would have celebrated him the way they did during the final homestand leading up to last Sunday’s emotional farewell without giving him advanced notice.”- Shi Davidi"

When asked if he had been informed about his future already, Bautista replied with a “no comment”, which likely proves Davidi’s summation to be correct. The Dominican slugger has been pretty clear in the media that he would like to return to Toronto to continue his career, so it sounds like the two sides are departing on good terms, with Bautista hoping to leave the door open to a possible return.

It wasn’t the storybook ending that we had hoped would happen for “Joey Bats”, but that doesn’t take away from what he accomplished in a Blue Jays’ uniform. It will feel a little strange to see him in a different uniform next season, but it’s just the latest proof that baseball is a business after all.

Next: Marcus Stroman is the new face of the franchise

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