Morosi: Bautista hopes to return to Blue Jays in free agency

MLB Insider Jon Paul Morosi discusses the Jose Bautista situation and how Bautista is still hoping for a return to the Blue Jays.

The Toronto Blue Jays need an outfielder, Jose Bautista needs a contract, and so the two parties should come together and complete a deal, says FOX Sports and MLB insider Jon Morosi.

Morosi joined Dean Blundell & Co. on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Tuesday morning and said Bautista has rejected at least one credible offer over the last couple weeks because he did not see them as situations he liked better than Toronto.

“His mindset and his hope is that he’s going to come back to Toronto,” Morosi said. “He has rejected at least one offer with that mentality.”

Bautista also turned down the $17.2 million qualifying offer the Blue Jays made him in November, at which point he became linked to draft pick compensation. After a down season by his standards, teams have not been willing to come anywhere close to the nine-figure contract he reportedly sought in spring training.

With the Blue Jays in need of power and an upgrade in the outfield as the roster currently stands, Morosi believes now is the time for the Blue Jays and Bautista to come to terms on a new deal.

“He and the Blue Jays could probably both mutually save a lot of face on a credible, two-year offer, maybe even less than the $17.2 million a year,” Morosi said. “Two years, $30 million sounds reasonable and like an acceptable deal on both sides.”

Despite the free agent addition of the versatile Steve Pearce, the outfield remains a position of need for the Blue Jays. Even with Pearce, Ezequiel Carrera, Melvin Upton Jr. and Dalton Pompey in the fold, there is a lack of reliable starting corner outfielders.

According to Morosi, the outfield simply is not good enough right now, especially without Edwin Encarnacion‘s 40-home run bat around. Even though Bautista hit 22 home runs last season, he finished the year with the 15th-best OPS among MLB outfielders — better than the likes of reported trade target Jay Bruce and notorious power-hitters Bryce Harper, George Springer and Matt Kemp.

While Bautista’s track record and ability to get on base at a consistent rate make him an attractive option, his defensive limitations, age, declining power numbers, and the competitive free agent power market have all contributed to his current standing.

In 2016, Bautista slashed .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBIs in 116 games.

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