Jose Bautista is set to become a free agent after the 2016 season, and although the Toronto Blue Jays slugger remains focused on the task at hand, that hasn’t prevented him from thinking about the future.
Appearing on Brady and Walker on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Friday morning, Bautista discussed the allure of free agency and what his future could hold in Toronto.
“It’s intriguing. It’s something I think everybody should experience once in their life if they get a chance to,” said Bautista, who made clear he wouldn’t necessarily opt for free agency just for the sake of it. “Most guys that end up in free agency have somewhat of a shaky situation in their own particular club, or the money’s not there or something might happen.
“We’ll see what the future entails for me, I’m not really thinking about that personally right now. I’m more concerned about trying to figure out a way to help the team win more games and seeing what happens after that.”
Bautista believes the team’s additions of all-stars Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin will help the Blue Jays take the next step this season after finishing a surprising 83-79 and five games back of a wild-card spot in 2014.
“We’ve taken steps forward in the last season and we hope to continue to do that, but none of us are going to be satisfied by saying we played a little better than the year before,” said Bautista. “Everybody’s goal ultimately is to get to the playoffs and play in the World Series in any particular season, and that hasn’t changed one bit.”
The Blue Jays are expected to have one of the most potent lineups in the American League, with a batting order that will include Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, and newcomers Donaldson (who finished eighth in AL MVP voting last season), Martin (one of the premier hitting catchers in baseball) and Michael Saunders. But after experiencing a similar headline-grabbing off-season in 2012, Bautista is only concerned about results.
“The team and management can do whatever they want to put a great team on paper but we have to show up and play like we’re capable,” he said.
Blue Jays pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Dunedin on Feb. 22, ahead of the team’s spring training opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates Mar. 3.