Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said declining the option was a likely outcome when he spoke with reporters during his end-of-season review in early October.
“I don’t believe in closing any doors and speaking in absolutes but based on the construction of our roster we feel it’s unlikely that he’s a part of the solution moving forward,” Atkins said at the time. “Having said that, Jose’s career is remarkable and the last game of the season speaks to what he’s meant to this city and organization.”
The 37-year-old outfielder has been a member of the Blue Jays since 2008.
Following six consecutive all-star campaigns, Bautista’s production began to decline over the past two years. He finished 2017 with 23 home runs, 65 RBIs and a career-low .203 batting average (during seasons in which he played more than 11 games).