Jose Bautista is joining the list of players who set an artificial deadline for contract negotiations, saying he won't negotiate after Monday's arbitration hearing:
"I won't be open to it after the hearing," Bautista told the Sun's Ken Fidlin.
"After the hearing, I believe we will notify the team that (a long-term deal) is not going to be a possibility, unless it's in that window they have from the end of the season until the free agency period begins."
Bautista added he simply doesn't want any distractions during the season.
So it is similar to what Albert Pujols is saying to the Cardinals and dozens of other players have said over the years since the start of free agency. I understand making a deadline is a great way to try to pry as many dollars as possible out of their team.
"If I'm in that type of negotiation, it's going to shift my focus from what I need to worry about and that's baseball. I don't want my mind to be elsewhere when I come to the ballpark to help my team win."
It is that part I'm not sure I believe. If you were a player, would having your agent talking to the team would distract you more than coming up to free agency? If I was wondering where I might be living/working next year I am sure it would distract me from thinking about the current game.
I also think that players that make this sort of deadline are ones that don't want to stay with their current teams all that much. I don't want to think that about Jose but it does make me wonder when he sets a deadline that is just three days away. He must know how far apart he and the team are in negotiations at the moment, so he know what the chance are that a contract gets done before.