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The Jays have yet to approach Jose Bautista about a multi-year deal

Jan 25, 2011, 2:30 PM EDT

Jose Bautista swinging

The second most shocking thing about the Vernon Wells trade — after the Angels actually agreeing to it — was the fact that it left the Blue Jays with only $17.4 million in payroll commitments for 2012.  The conventional wisdom when that news started to spread was that all of that freed-up money would be used to lock up 50-homer-man Jose Bautista. If that’s the plan, it hasn’t been made operation yet, because as Jon Paul Morosi reports, the Jays haven’t even approached Bautista with an offer yet.

Not sure I would either. I’m prepared to admit that the changes in Bautista’s swing in 2010 led him to achieve a new level of homerly-goodness that he will sustain for some time, but I’m not sure I’d wager a multi-year deal on it.  If I was writing the checks in Toronto, I’d like to see another season of big power from the guy before grabbing the pen. Yes, that’s a gamble too inasmuch as Bautista will be a free agent after 2011 and could go anywhere, but who’s to say this isn’t 1961 Norm Cash or 1973 Davey Johnson we’re talking about?

It may cost the Jays the couple extra million they’re going to have to pay if they lose their arbitration case. It may cause Bautista to look for employment elsewhere in 2012 if he goes crazy again. But really, I’d be loathe to give the guy a multi-year deal after what could very easily be the best year he’ll ever have.

  1. spudchukar - Jan 25, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    Is he a 3B or not? That is the question. If yes, lock him up. If not, wait and see.

  2. clydeserra - Jan 25, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    We have to cut the Jays front office some slack here, I bet they have a Northwest Territories size hang over that might not wear off until February.

  3. proudlycanadian - Jan 25, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    The Jays plan to spend the money on their younger players and the minor league system. Bautista is over 30. The Jays will see how he does this season before offering him an extension. If he leaves as a free agent, they will get 2 draft picks. As many of their older players are on short term contracts, the Jays might be able to pick up several extra draft picks in 2012. They have 7 of the first 80 picks in 2011.

    • missthemexpos - Jan 25, 2011 at 4:09 PM

      Now the Jays must sign most of these draft picks, even if it costs slightly more than expected. Enough money has been saved, by having cleared most of J. P. Ricciardi’s extravagant contracts off the books.

      • proudlycanadian - Jan 25, 2011 at 4:23 PM

        The Jays also had 7 of the first 80 picks last year and signed all of them.

  4. nicosamuelson2 - Jan 25, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    He was, however, offered a multiyear deal by Webster’s. They’d like him to be the illustration to the word “fluke” in the next set of dictionaries.

    • spudchukar - Jan 25, 2011 at 5:53 PM

      My guess is he will redefine “fluke”, with 42 HR’s and 100 RBI. Again back to “The Princess Bride”, “I do not think that word means what you think it means”.

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