Oct. 27, 2016
MLB Rumors: Jose Bautista back with Blue Jays?
36 year old Jose Bautista went into the off-season with high hopes of a multiple year deal making upwards of 17 million dollars a year. Unfortunately the six-time All-Star has yet to sign a deal with a Major League club in a market that has plenty of power bats (Mark Trumbo, Chris Carter, Brandon Moss) the list goes on. Is a reunion with the Toronto Blue Jays a possibility after Bautista declined the 17.2 million dollar qualifying offer?
In 2016 Bautista hit .234 with 22 homeruns and 69 RBI in 116 games with the Jays. Bautista struggled in 2016 as we saw his slugging percentage drop to .452 his worst since the 2009 season. Although it is not all bad for Bautista as he still has fantastic plate discipline, drawing 87 walks with only 103 strikeouts last season The power numbers have gone down, but Bautista is still able to create battles at the plate and draw walks.
The Blue Jays off-season has been successful despite losing slugger Edwin Encarnacion to the Cleveland Indians and being unable to reach an agreement with Bautista thus far. The Jays signed DH Kendrys Morales who hit 30 homeruns with the Kansas City Royals in 2016. Also signing 1B/DH Steve Pearce who hit .288 with 13 homeruns and similar to Bautista draws his walks with 34 and only 54 strikeouts in 2016 between the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles.
After those signings it seemed like the Jays had decided to move on from their beloved sluggers, but a return for Bautista is still possible. The Blue Jays are in need of a right fielder and even at 36 years old Bautista still can get the job done in the outfield. Recently signed Morales has DH covered, but putting Bautista in RF or 1B could be a possibility for 2017. A long-term deal between the Jays and Bautista is unlikely, but a one-year deal with an option for a second year sounds reasonable. Bautista has spent nine seasons with the Blue Jays and would likely love to win a World Series for Toronto before he retires.