Heyman: Jose Bautista’s contract year production costing him money

MLB network insider Jon Heyman speculates how much Jose Bautista's season full of injury and under-performance will cost him on the free agent market.

Jose Bautista is having a very challenging contract year.

The 35-year-old outfielder is on pace for his least productive offensive season since becoming a full-time player with the Toronto Blue Jays, his defensive skills appear to be in decline, and he has battled various injuries throughout the season.

Bautista missed more than a month with turf toe earlier this year and was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a sprained knee.

In a guest appearance on Sportsnet 590 the FAN, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman offered insight into Bautista’s pending free agency, suggesting that the right fielder has cost himself significant money.

“I think Father Time gets everybody,” Heyman said Wednesday on Dean Blundell & Co. “There was an era where some guys were lasting a little bit longer. Those days for the most part are done. Ichiro (Suzuki) has done well. He’s not a full-time player. (Bartolo) Colon has done well. (David) Ortiz has had a great year. It is possible to play well at age-40 but it’s much less likely. Age does get everybody. He’s probably in excellent shape for mid-30s but not too many players play great into age 40. Very few do.

“I don’t think he was going to get $150 million anyway. He was probably around $100 million for four years (before the season). I think he’ll probably (land) a three-year deal in the range of $70 million. We’ll see. He’s going to have to come back and do okay. He can’t be injured or else it’ll cost him even more.”

There is a school of thought that Bautista’s drop-off in performance could allow the Blue Jays to bring him back on a qualifying offer for next season, but Heyman’s not convinced.

“I don’t see that happening,” Heyman said. “I’m sure they’ll offer (the qualifying offer). If he’s still hurt and stays hurt for two months, then I guess that’s possible, but if he gets back on the field and plays reasonably well and finishes with an OPS somewhere around .800, I would find that unlikely.”

Bautista is hitting .222/.349/.444 with 15 home runs, 48 RBI in 355 plate appearances this season.

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