Free agent slugger Jose Bautista returning to Toronto

Written by: Kyle Andrews – Staff Writing Intern (@KyleAndrews1994)

Jose Bautista was considered to be one of the best sluggers on the market by many pundits. He is no longer on the free agent market because he has agreed to a one-year pact with the Toronto Blue Jays. The deal includes two option years and is worth $18.5 million.

According to Robert MacLeod of The Globe and Mail, Bautista’s contract includes many incentives:

“Atkins confirmed that Bautista will also receive additional bonuses based on attendance figures at Rogers Centre, which was already bulging at the seams last year when close to 3.4 million patrons poured through the turnstiles for 81 regular-season games.

It had been reported that Bautista would receive $150,000 if the Blue Jays’ home game attendance crack 3.5 million and could top out at $900,000 if the attendance tops four million.

Atkins said Bautista’s deal is actually sweeter than that, that the player would stand to make roughly $1.5-million in bonuses if attendance shoots through the domed roof.

Over all, the deal, both in respect to term and value, was a far cry from the non-negotiable, five-year, $150-million contract extension Bautista reportedly sought before the start of this past season.

Toronto general manager Ross Atkins believes that Bautista can return to all-star form.

“He’s capable of what he’s done year in and year out… It’s more likely that he has the 2015 season than it is that he has the 2016 season,” said Atkins.

Bautista’s 2016 season was derailed by injuries. He batted .234/.366/.452, batted in 69 runs and hit 22 homers in 116 games. In 2015, Bautista was electric, batting .250/.377/.536 batted in a league-high 110 runs and hit 40 homers. His play has led to him being selected to the All-Star Game in six consecutive seasons from 2010-2015.

“I’m optimistic we’re going to be able to rely on him,” Atkins said about Bautista, in a Thursday interview with Sportsnet. “He’s a very driven player.”

Even if the outfielder has aged and is now 36-years old, he has an eye for getting on-base. Bautista has been the vocal leader of the Blue Jays for some time now, and possibly, for a few more seasons.


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