Free agent Jose Bautista’s representatives have once again engaged the Blue Jays in contract talks, as reported by MLB Network’s Jon Morosi Thursday afternoon. Just a couple days ago, general manger Ross Atkins went on radio to say that Bautista was still an option for Toronto, who is still looking for outfielders.
Atkins on XM on Bautista: "He's obviously still an alternative for us"— Clint (@_ClintB_) December 27, 2016
Bautista, local hero, declined the Blue Jays’ one-year, $17.2-million qualifying offer earlier this offseason and became a free agent. He is one of two (the other being Mark Trumbo) remaining free agents who will cost other teams a draft pick to acquire, which has suppresses their market value. Of course, the Blue Jays will not be required to give up any compensation for re-signing their own free agent.
With changes to the CBA that only allows a free agent to be offered the qualifying offer once per lifetime, Bautista may be tempted to sign a one-year deal to become a truly free free agent in 2017, although he’d be 37 next year. A dubious report on Twitter said that the Jays have offered him $12-million, but I could not imagine a situation where he settles for any less than the qualifying $17.2-million valuation.
I think we could all agree that we’d rather see Jose Bautista back in a Blue Jays uniform than Brandon MOss, right?