Agent: Bautista wants to finish his career as a Blue Jay

Bautista’s agent says player would love to finish playing days with Blue Jays

By Danny Gallagher
Canadian Baseball Network

His teammates love him. 

Management loves him. 

Fans love him.

So what does it take to have Jose Bautista signed to a new, multi-year contract by the Blue Jays?

“If the Blue Jays want Jose back, he’d be very happy to end his career there but if they don’t want him, he will become a free agent,’’ Bautista’s agent Jay Alou said late Friday afternoon from the Dominican Republic. 

“He’d be very happy to stay in Toronto. We’ll see what happens. We’ll see if Toronto wants to keep him. Jose is a hard worker. He works harder than anyone on the team.’’

Alou, son of former major-leaguer Jay Alou and nephew of former Expos manager Felipe Alou, said there have been no contract talks so far this off-season. Of course, there is no hurry but at some point, Bautista and his agent might say that if there is no new contract in place by  the end of spring training then the player might test the free-agent market following the 2016 season.

A little over a month ago on Nov. 3, the Blue Jays exercised the $14-million option the team had on Bautista for 2016. It’s agreed almost universally that Bautista signed a team-friendly contract the last time around: a five-year deal worth $65 million in 2011.

From 2012 through 2015, Bautista’s annual salary remained the same at $14-million, the same as his 2016 option. His salary in 2011 was only $8-million, according to many web sites.

Whereas the Blue Jays got Bautista for $65-million for five years the last time, signing him to another contract would probably take at least $65-million just for three years. At least. There won’t be any team-friendly contract this time.

Bautista’s dramatic home run and ensuing bat flip to help the Jays win the American League Division Series over the Texas Rangers in Game 5 cemented his already solid reputation in baseball lore and in many ways, jacked up his market value big time. At 35, Bautista is still relatively young and could command another five-year contract.

As Alou said, we’ll see what happens.