After many rumors circulated around the internet this week, it has finally been confirmed that Jose Bautista will return to the Toronto Blue Jays. BP Toronto was the first to break the news earlier this afternoon.
SOURCE: #BlueJays and Jose Bautista in agreement on deal pending physical. Lots of incentives, a mutual option, and could go to 3 years.
— BP Toronto (@BProToronto) January 17, 2017
The deal is expected to be a one-year deal worth $18 million guaranteed, with a mutual option for the 2018 season and potentially another for the 2019 season, which would push the deal to 3 years and $60 million, close to what ex-teammate Edwin Encarnacion received when he signed with the Cleveland Indians not long ago.
Bautista originally received a qualifying offer from the Blue Jays at the beginning of the off-season worth $17.2 million, but declined the offer to test the free agent waters. After receiving interest from numerous teams, including the Baltimore Orioles and the Cleveland Indians, Bautista became Toronto’s #1 target as late as last week.
Bautista, despite his advanced age, is one of the premier sluggers in the league. Since 2010, Bautista has hit 249 home runs, but hit only 22 in 2016 due to multiple injuries, his lowest total since he hit 28 home runs in 2013. Bautista is also considered an on-base threat, as he has walked 661 times since 2010 and struck out only 679 times. Bautista will return to his normal outfield spot with Kendrys Morales slated in as the Designated Hitter, which would also keep prospect Dalton Pompey on the bench or in the minors.
Something to note on Bautista’s contract is the mutual option that is penciled in for next season. Rarely have mutual options been agreed upon, but in Bautista’s case, his will to return to Toronto could lead to an agreement upon the option. There is also a vesting option on the deal, with the unknown incentive to trigger that option currently unknown at the present time.