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Blue Jays nearing five-year, $65M extension with Bautista

Feb 16, 2011, 8:46 PM EDT

Jose Bautista

UPDATE, 8:46 PM: Now Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com is reporting that the extension carries a $13 million club option for a sixth season. So it appears that $65 million of the new contract will be guaranteed.

8:39 PM: Forget the minor ankle injuries. There might be real news out of Blue Jays camp tonight.

According to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes, Toronto is nearing agreement on a five-year, $65 million contract extension with Jose Bautista.

Initial reaction? It’s a big amount of money and a risky commitment for a guy who entered the 2010 season with a .729 career OPS to his name. Bautista was a journeyman during the first several years of his career and the Jays have now decided to reward him handsomely after his first breakout campaign.

Bautista led the major leagues in home runs (54) last year and tallied a cool 124 RBI against a .995 OPS. All of those numbers were career highs, however, and his batting line in 2009 looked far different.

Maybe Bautista really discovered something when he revamped his approach at the plate last spring and maybe he’ll be able to sustain his 2010 level of production over the course of the new deal, but it does seem unlikely. The Jays probably would have been better off reaching a one-year agreement with him this winter and allowing the 2011 season to play out. Bautista, 30, was in his final year of arbitration eligibility.

  1. spudchukar - Feb 16, 2011 at 8:53 PM

    I am pretty sure this is going to be a minority opinion, but I refuse to believe Bautista is a one year wonder. 54/126 will be hard to match, but 40/100 for an okay 3B, is probably worth the cash.

    • phukyouk - Feb 16, 2011 at 9:02 PM

      dude… if he breaks 25 HR this season drinks are on me…

      • Ari Collins - Feb 16, 2011 at 9:23 PM

        Are you in NY? I love free drinks.

      • phukyouk - Feb 16, 2011 at 10:17 PM

        Ari… indeed i am… hes not break 25… this guy never hit more than 16 in a season before last yr and that was in the minors. NO im not accusing him of jucing im saying he had a good… no.. a GREAT season but thats it. he will come back down to earth.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 16, 2011 at 10:46 PM

        Great. I’ll have to come up from Jersey in April or August so you can buy me that drink and watch Boston beat New York with me.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 16, 2011 at 10:47 PM

        Well, August, obviously. Since I don’t think even Bautista’s most ardent supporters think he’ll have 25 HRs in early April.

      • phukyouk - Feb 16, 2011 at 11:05 PM

        Bro… if he break 25 in April im buying for the entire HBT crowd. and you spelled New York beat Boston incorrectly.

    • cur68 - Feb 16, 2011 at 9:02 PM

      Feel you with the realness spudchukar. I also believe there’s plenty more to this guy than one season. He was an ok performer while bumbling from one team and position to another but a steady job and some coaching really brought him on. My old track coach had an eye for athletes like him. Coach Bloom always said pick the average performing guy with lousy form & work with him. He isn’t any where near his potential till you spend a year tuning him up. The 2010 season’s theme song was; ‘Will the real Jose Bautista please stand up’ and he sure did. I see 40/100 as pretty realistic.

    • uyf1950 - Feb 16, 2011 at 9:15 PM

      To spudchukar – The good thing about your comment. It won’t take long to find out if you’re right or wrong. If the Jays made a mistake or made a wise decision. The 2011 season will be all it takes to find out.

      • spudchukar - Feb 16, 2011 at 10:11 PM

        True.

    • proudlycanadian - Feb 17, 2011 at 10:49 AM

      IT NOW APPEARS TO BE A DONE DEAL!

  2. phukyouk - Feb 16, 2011 at 8:57 PM

    this will soon be known as “the Beltran”. you have one good season (or post season) and you get paid ungodly amounts of money when noone else is offering you sh*t.

    • cur68 - Feb 16, 2011 at 9:06 PM

      Except Beltran’s knees are made of cheese. The soft runny kind. Jose’s are made of solid oak. His spine; polished maple. Each hand is like a shovel and his beard is thick and manly. Beltran can claim none of that. I vote Jose Bautista for the MLB Chuck Norris Award for Manliness.

  3. Chris K - Feb 16, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    AA has proven he’s a mastermind genius. As such, this can only mean we can expect at least 40 HRs a season over the next 5 years. There can be no other explanation.

  4. Ari Collins - Feb 16, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    A five year extension for ages 30-34 sounds a bit risky, but the money’s actually pretty small. $13M a year is a pretty good deal for a guy who even most detractors (phukyouk aside) think will hit 25 HRs and play an adequate 3B. Sure, the Jays might suffer if he hits 15 HRs a year instead, but I’d say he’s at least as likely to hit 35. Good contract with some upside.

    • phukyouk - Feb 16, 2011 at 10:21 PM

      let me make myself clear. i’m not saying that his contract is bad. in comparing it to Beltran i only mean that Beltran got his contract for a few good playoff games. if Bautista hit 20 HR’s last season or even 40 this contract would not read 65 Mil it would be MUCH closer to 40-45. he is certainly more reliable than Beltran but i dont understand where 13 Mil a yr is coming from.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 16, 2011 at 10:44 PM

        I don’t understand the Beltran comp. Beltran was only 27 and coming off four years where he averaged 29 HRs and 37 SBs while playing an excellent CF. I guess Beltran WAS coming off a 38-HR season, sure, but that’s not all that much more than the 26 he’d averaged the previous three years. And it was his age-27 year, so… not that fluky.

        Anyway, yeah. Very different players.

      • phukyouk - Feb 16, 2011 at 11:04 PM

        Beltran got the money that he did at that time due to his 8 HR in 5 games in the post season. yes his previous yrs helped but if he doesnt have that post season AND the mets dont have dumbass management Beltran gets 75% of what they offered him. im just saying that Bautista is get 65 Mil for having a GREAT season. ONE season. it does not make sense to me at all. I agree with the below. the Jays struck gold by dumping Wells. why throw it all back into another guy that is not yet proven.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 16, 2011 at 11:56 PM

        Oh, I see where you’re coming from. You’re comparing Beltran’s amazing month to Bautista’s amazing year. Gotcha.

        (As an aside, it was 8 HRs in 12 games, not 5.)

        I don’t think Beltran’s October made all that much of a difference, though. I mean, the guy was a 27-year-old stud power-hitting CF. A true 5-tool talent. The whole package for his prime years. I don’t remember it being all that stunning that he got the deal he got.

        And even with the injuries he’s had, he’s actually earned the contract so far with his performance. Before getting injured in ’09, he averaged 29 HRs a year with the Mets. From a good defensive CF. That’s pretty fantastic.

        Basically, don’t hate Beltran. He’s been great. Not his fault Omar Minaya sucks.

      • phukyouk - Feb 17, 2011 at 9:01 AM

        He was far from great. hes been OK at best and certainly not worth the 20 Mil a yr hes being paid. not to mention that hes a worse choker than david carradine.

  5. asharak - Feb 16, 2011 at 10:33 PM

    Definitely not a fan of this deal, as it’s being reported. But Anthopoulos has so far been a master of the complex contract (see Aaron Hill’s deal), so until it’s officially announced, I’m not convinced this is all there is to it.

    If it really is five guaranteed with an option for a sixth, it’s a gamble I don’t like. The Jays just got out from under $80M or so of Vernon Wells, so we’re going to throw three quarters of that right at Bautista?

    Now, if two or three of those years are options (possibly of the all-at-once variety), then things get much more interesting.

  6. proudlycanadian - Feb 16, 2011 at 11:02 PM

    Bautista was not a 1 year wonder. He began to put it together in September 2009. He had 10 home runs that month and established himself as a regular.

  7. cur68 - Feb 16, 2011 at 11:11 PM

    yep, noticed that, eh? That’s about what he averaged all 2010 season, too ~ 10 a month. Nice steady production. Just needed a little coaching and practice. He’ll be worth the dough.

  8. Ari Collins - Feb 16, 2011 at 11:22 PM

    I’m still disappointed that he hit a homer the other way right at the very end of the season. Otherwise he would have had 53 pulled homers and 0 the other way. That would have been so cool.

    • proudlycanadian - Feb 17, 2011 at 8:58 AM

      He did have 1 inside the park home run and almost had another. In that instance, it was originally ruled an inside the park HR, but upon further review the umps correctly decided that the ball was over the fence.

  9. cur68 - Feb 16, 2011 at 11:41 PM

    That lame duck he hit against the Twins barely cleared the wall. Wind helped it, too, I think. It was a near thing if I recall. I hope that’s it for him to the right side. All his other shots show his incredible bat speed and timing. That shot showed he was late and under the pitch and since I think he’d gone 0 for like, 19 or 20 to that point, he must have been tired late in the season.

  10. dirtyharry1971 - Feb 17, 2011 at 1:39 AM

    this will easily go down as one of the worse contracts ever, talk about fools gold, no wonder the jays can’t win

    • cur68 - Feb 17, 2011 at 2:48 AM

      @dirtyharry1971; Easily the worst contract ever was A-Rod/Rangers. Also this is as nothing to the one the Jays had with Wells. Only comparable contract (and even that’s worse than this one) would be Beltran’s and his knees are made of brie cheese as opposed to Jose who has oak for knees. Next.

    • phukyouk - Feb 17, 2011 at 8:53 AM

      two words. Oliver Perez.

  11. dodger88 - Feb 17, 2011 at 8:36 AM

    I like the gamble. $13 million a year could be a bargain if he proves to be a 30-40 HR guy each year. Considering the gobs money others have received in recent years (i.e. Wells), even if he regresses back to 20 or so HR’s, he’ll be overpaid but not so much that he becomes an albatross around the team’s neck.

  12. madhatternalice - Feb 17, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    Regression. Bautista played for his contract. I see him performing exactly like Beltre did when Seattle “rewarded” him in 2004.

    • cur68 - Feb 18, 2011 at 2:03 AM

      Nerd alert; set deflector screens to maximum pocket protector. Ready? Ok. A sensible notion, regression. He’ll regress to the mean of his usual performance using this logic. This sort of statistical measure holds true up until its applied to human influenced events. Take stock markets. Analysts try to use regression (and other algorithms) to predict what will happen. But human behavior is fickle and isn’t random. Every ~ 2 years something ridonkuous happens and it fluctuates wildly due to human behavior. Jose isn’t random either. His average prior to last season was based on knocking around from team to team, little applied coaching and numerous fielding position. He’s focused, coached, and on a team that values him now. He’ll re-set his mean based on the new circumstance the way you reset average stock value when your invested company hits big oil reserves (applied effort increases net worth, resetting the mean). Check out Nassim Taleb’s book The Black Swan for a much better explanation for why regression doesn’t really apply in this case. Besides, he’s had other contract years before. Why didn’t he play like this for them? Using this logic he’d have had his monster season long ago.

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