Going into the off-season the prevailing wisdom was that Jose Bautista would not return to the Toronto Blue Jays, but the 36-year-old reportedly feels like he has some unfinished business with the team.
Bautista’s agent Jay Alou told Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball that his client loves Toronto and feels like his work there isn’t done.
“He loves the city, loves the fans. I didn’t realize how much he loves it there,” he said. “And he really feels he has unfinished business.”
The Blue Jays have offered Bautista a qualifying offer worth $17.2 million. It’s conceivable that he accepts based on the fact he’s coming off a down season at the age of 36, but that scenario is not particularly likely. If Bautista were to return it’s more probable it would be on a multi-year deal.
Last season the slugger hit .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI. He also struggled defensively in right field leading to a WAR total of only 1.4, his lowest since 2008. According to Alou, Bautista is open to playing a number of a different positions if it will help his next team win.
Bautista’s 265 home runs in a Blue Jays uniform ranks second all-time behind Carlos Delgado. He’s the franchise leader among position players in WAR with 35.6.