Jose Bautista and the Toronto Blue Jays have agreed to a one-year deal worth $18.5 million.
The Toronto Blue Jays and free-agent rightfielder Jose Bautista have agreed to a one-year deal worth $18.5 million, the team announced on Wednesday. The deal was first reported by FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman.
The contract includes a $17 million mutual option for '17 and a $20 million vesting option for '19. It surpasses the $17.2 million qualifying offer from the Blue Jays that Bautista rejected earlier in the winter.
Bautista, 36, hit .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs—his lowest output in four seasons—and 69 RBIs in 2016. In 12 MLB seasons, Bautista, a six-time MLB All-Star, has hit .255/.368/.493 with 308 home runs and 862 RBIs; 265 of those home runs have come in nine years with Toronto, including a major league-high 54 in 2010.
Before re-signing Bautista, the Blue Jays had reportedly reached out to designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (who had been with Toronto since 2009) and Chicago Cubs centerfielder Dexter Fowler during free agency. Fowler ended up signing a five-year, $82.5 million deal with the St. Louis Cardinals, and Encarnacion signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Cleveland Indians.
On Monday morning, Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman tweeted at Bautista that he was glad his teammate was "back where you belong."
- Scooby Axson