Blue Jays OF Jose Bautista Sticks Feet In Ground On Contract Talks

Jose Bautista

Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista is one of the best all-around outfielders in the game of baseball with a cannon of an arm and a powerful bat, and he knows it. According to TSN’s Rick Westhead, Bautista, who is in the final year of his four-year, $65 million contract with the Jays is reportedly seeking $150 million from the club in order to stay in Toronto.

Bautista got straight to the point when he met with reporters on Monday at spring training in Dunedin, Florida, saying that he gave the Blue Jays an unspecified number approximately two weeks prior when they approached him. Bautista also stated that there will be no negotiation.

“If this is going to happen, they should know what it takes, and I told them the number because they asked me,” Bautista told ESPN’s Britt McHenry.

“I’m not going to sit here and bargain for a couple of dollars. I know the business but they either meet it or it is what it is.” 

When asked about a hometown discount, Bautista immediately shot down the idea saying he knows his value and wants to be paid.

“In my world, that doesn’t exist. In my eyes, I’ve given this organization a five-year hometown discount already,” referring to the five-year contract he signed in 2011. 

Bautista clearly feels that he has been underpaid during his time in Toronto and is now doing everything he can in order to gain leverage on the franchise. However, with Bautista now at 36 years old it may be difficult for him to convince the Blue Jays to get a deal done no matter how well he performs in 2016. Along with Bautista, the Blue Jays have other issues with their payroll as they have the league’s second-highest paid shortstop behind Colorado’s Jose Reyes in Troy Tulowitzki (31, earning $20 million per season for next four years), reigning MVP third baseman Josh Donaldson (30) who will be due to get a new contract following the 2017 season (currently making $28.6 million over next two seasons), and first baseman Edwin Encarnacion (33), who’s three-year, $29 million contract is up at the end of 2016. 

Even with David Price no longer with the team, the Blue Jays pitching staff of R.A. Dickey, Marco Estrada, J.A. Happ, Jess Chavez, and Brett Cecil still takes up well over $60 million in the team’s payroll. The $60 million may not compare to that of the pitching staffs of the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees, but it is enough that combined with the contracts of Tulowitzki and the ones about to be given to Donaldson and Encarnacion that the Blue Jays may not be able to afford “Joey Bats.” 

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