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Blue Jays finalize five-year, $65 million deal with Jose Bautista

Feb 17, 2011, 5:40 PM EDT

Jose Bautista

Jose Bautista and the Blue Jays made things official this afternoon, announcing his five-year contract extension worth $65 million.

The contract breaks down as follows:

2011 – $8 million
2012 – $14 million
2013 – $14 million
2014 – $14 million
2015 – $14 million
2016 – $14 million team option or $1 million buyout.

Bautista had asked for $10.5 million in his third and final season of arbitration eligibility while the Blue Jays countered at $7.6 million, so the extension basically pays him about $1 million below the midpoint for 2011 while buying out his first four seasons of free agency for $14 million per year.

Toronto also has a $14 million option or $1 million buyout for 2016, at which point Bautista will be 35 years old and the contract will either look like a bargain for a player who was able to sustain most of the production from his out-of-nowhere breakout or a huge overpay for a team that bet wrongly about his 2010 performance being for real.

I certainly wouldn’t bet on Bautista having another 50-homer, 1.000-OPS season in him, but the Blue Jays aren’t necessarily betting on that either.  After all, that type of production would be worth significantly more than $64 million for five seasons, as Fan Graphs pegged Bautista as being worth around $28 million in 2010 alone.

Instead, the Blue Jays are betting on him retaining most of that power as well as most of his improved plate discipline. If he turns back into a pumpkin it’ll be a regrettable contract, but even if Bautista settles in as a 30-homer, .850-OPS hitter going forward he’d be worth pretty close to what Toronto has committed to pay him through 2015. And for his career he’s averaged 25 homers and a .794 OPS per 600 plate appearances.

  1. proudlycanadian - Feb 17, 2011 at 5:58 PM

    Since the team option for year 6 includes a $1 million buyout, it really is a $65 million contract that could become a $78 million 6 year deal.

    • proudlycanadian - Feb 18, 2011 at 8:01 AM

      Gleeman’s original story said $64 million.

  2. cur68 - Feb 17, 2011 at 7:14 PM

    Can March 31 get here soon enough?

  3. Mark - Feb 17, 2011 at 8:40 PM

    “And for his career he’s averaged 25 homers and a .794 OPS per 600 plate appearances.”

    The bulk of that production coming in 2010. If you go from 2004-2009 (his time in the majors before 2010) that becomes a 729 career OPS and a 162 game average of 17 HR.

    I think Bautista’s gonna be an 850-900 OPS 3B/RF going forward, but it’s just amazing to look at the difference one year makes on the career stats.

  4. tucknrolle - Feb 17, 2011 at 10:51 PM

    This could work out to be an amazing deal for the Blue Jays.. If Bautista duplicates his 2010 performance that was a steal. On the other hand.. If he puts up his numbers from 2009 then they’re over paying him. We shall see. P.s. I love baseball

    • cur68 - Feb 17, 2011 at 10:59 PM

      Don’t really see him duplicate. Other teams know how much he can hurt them now, so they’ll pitch him much more cautiously. Even so he’ll probably produce ~40 homers and get walked WAY more often. Just so long as he’s on base he’ll be worth the dough.

  5. dirtyharry1971 - Feb 18, 2011 at 2:25 AM

    This contract will be a even worse deal than Wells BY FAR!! Its gonna be fun seeing the jays get ripped off this badly, god i cant wait!!

    • Mark - Feb 18, 2011 at 10:55 AM

      How will being paid over 5 years less then Vernon will make over the next 3, let alone the full 7 years be worse then the Wells contract? I really don’t see the logic here.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Feb 18, 2011 at 1:55 PM

        Of course you dont cause your a pathetic jays fan, how its going to be worse is this guy will NEVER hit 50 some HR’s again and will go back to what he was his whole career which was a utility player. Only difference is utility players dont get 65M, hahahahaha mark my words, worse contract ever!!

      • cur68 - Feb 18, 2011 at 11:42 PM

        Mark, Mark, Mark. See the double exclamations? See the caps lock use? Don’t bother with this. Reality is not a big feature in this guys life.

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