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Tuesday Bantering: What Does the Future Hold for Jose Bautista?

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MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

Before getting into my intended article, a quick word about last night. Whether you like or dislike "old school baseball" (and for the record I don't especially under these circumstances) the decisions made last night now leave the Blue Jays all the worse for wear. I don't think Donaldson was hit on purpose but even if he was, the best revenge would be to say to the Yankees, "well, see you in Octob... Oh yeah, that's right." Now we are left with possible suspensions and two injuries, one of which was a direct result of the scuffle and the other which might have been (Devon was pretty aggressive and right in the middle of it). Bad decisions that likely bite us at the most inopportune time. I guess hopefully behind closed doors the boys rally behind this in some way but they appear to have made their collective jobs more difficult.

Now onto the rest of the post...

If there’s one thing I know about Jose Bautista, it is that he’s really one of a kind. On the field, we know his story well. He turned from a journeyman bench player to one of the game’s most feared hitters over the past 6+ seasons. He shows emotion whether opining on the umpire’s strike zone or flipping his bat in sensational fashion after one of the biggest hits in this franchise’s history. Off the field, I may not agree with everything he says (as in thoughts on hometown discounts) but I truly enjoy listening to him as his answers are often blunt, but genuine. All-in-all it is really tough to draw any parallels to Jose.

I really enjoyed Greg Wisniewki’s story about Jose on Baseball Prospectus entitled Jose Bautista: Comic Book Hero which recapped Jose’s several dramatic moments in the past few games. Here’s a brief excerpt which really resonates with my own feelings about Jose:

I, on the other hand, can’t get enough. Because Jose Bautista, when he’s in the zone, when he’s on… is pure entertainment. When his game is elevated, the drama is as attention grabbing and as satisfying as any movie I’ve ever watched, or any book I’ve ever read. Jose Bautista is just like a well written comic book. The themes are familiar, the enemies repeat, the hero is often in peril, and sometimes over-matched. Jose can fall down, stagger, and look lost and alone. Like any great comic book character though, he stands back up to face the bad guys again.

Now, this would be from the perspective of Blue Jays’ fans, no doubt. Jose may very well be my favorite all-time Jay when it is all said and done but I have very little doubt that I’d probably despise him if he played for another team, especially in the AL East. While he’s painted as the hero in this piece, I think he’d play and probably enjoy the role of the villain in the eyes of others.

Wisniewski’s closing argument sets up an important question for me:

Sure he might do a great heel-turn after the sun has set on 2016. We might see him as the supervillan as he switches uniforms (or is it costumes?) and plays on our darkest fears of our hero turning bad. But this issue of the Amazing Jose Bautista finished with our hero still on top, still the Greatest Blue Jay of All Time, and there isn’t time to stop and think about it for too long. Every day brings another episode, another chance for the bad guys to fall beneath the sweet swing of Joey Bats.

That question: What becomes of Jose Bautista’s career in Toronto at the end of this season?

As we know, Jose becomes a free agent at the end of the 2016 season. We know from interviews in spring training that Jose gave the Jays his contract demands and didn’t feel that further negotiation was necessary. The numbers that were reported, upwards of 5 years/$150M, seem a definite pipe dream after Jose’s 2016 season in which his production and defense have fallen while injuries have piled up.

The Blue Jays will certainly make a qualifying offer to Jose. I don’t think Jose will accept and don’t blame him at all for that. While on the surface, a one-year contract to rebuild some value might seem plausible. However, Jose is nearly 36 years old and as a result it is anything but a safe bet to me that he’d rebound next year. If I’m Jose, I’m taking the maximum years and dollars offered to me in the off-season as this will almost certainly be his last contract. Now the question is will Toronto be the team that will make him that offer. I hate to say it but there seem to be too many variables in play including a position change and EE’s status to result in Jose being back next year. I hope I’m wrong as I’d hate to see our hero leave Metropolis.


Bernie Pleskoff from Knuckleball News offers a scouting report on Rowdy Tellez. I like his bottom line on Rowdy:

I am very bullish on the future for Rowdy Tellez. I believe he is just beginning to tap the tremendous power and hitting potential in his game. He could fashion a solid batting average to accompany 25 to 30 home runs once he is established as a big league player.

I'm looking forward to watching Rowdy in Spring Training next year, but hopefully we have lots of baseball to watch before then.