15 worst Toronto Blue Jays free agent signings in franchise history

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3. OF José Bautista - one year, $18M (2016-2017 offseason)

This was a tough decision. Bautista is one of the most prolific power hitters to ever suit up for the Blue Jays. His stretch of play from 2010-2016 will live on in the hearts of Jays Nation forever, and rightfully so.

After becoming a free agent at the end of the 2016 campaign, Bautista had a chance to hit the open market and potentially leave Toronto, the city where he rose to stardom.

However, he re-signed with the Jays in January of 2017 after declining the $17.2M qualifying offer extended by the club.

It was immediately clear that this was not the Joey Bats of years past. He played 157 games for the club (his highest since 2010), but struggled mightily at the plate. This was an unwelcome development for Jays fans, as he had not performed this poorly since a 21-game cameo in 2008.

Bautista still hit 27 doubles and 23 home runs, but he just barely stayed above the Mendoza Line with his .203 batting average and had an OPS+ of just 79, meaning he was 21 percent worse than league-average. His -1.0 bWAR was easily the lowest he had put up since all the way back in 2006 as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The reason this contract isn’t ranked even higher is because of the fact that the 2017 Blue Jays were never meant to be winners. After all, this is a club that trotted out Darwin Barney, Ryan Goins, Steve Pearce and Kevin Pillar on a daily basis. The pitching staff consisted of struggling pitchers like Marco Estrada, Francisco Liriano and Joe Biagini.

Bautista deserves every bit of recognition and fame that he gets from his peak years in Toronto. However, this contract was an extreme overpay and he offered next to nothing on the 2017 Jays.