Report: Bautista to turn down qualifying offer from Blue Jays

Jose Bautista, pictured above. (Nathan Denette/CP)

Pending free agent Jose Bautista is expected to turn down a $17.2-million qualifying offer from the Toronto Blue Jays, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

Cafardo, citing a major league source, reports the slugger will likely turn down the one-year offer and instead seek a multi-year deal.

Bautista, 36, is coming off an injury plagued 2016 with Toronto that saw him hit .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBIs over 116 games. His struggles continued in the post-season, as he hit .182 (6-for-33) with two homers and five RBIs across nine games.

Cafardo lists Boston as a possible destination for Bautista, who reportedly enjoys playing at Fenway Park and has played under Red Sox manager John Farrell and third base coach Brian Butterfield during their time in Toronto. Boston has a potential opening at designated hitter with the retirement of David Ortiz.

Bautista, along with Edwin Encarnacion, is among several Blue Jays set to become free agents, including R.A. Dickey, Michael Saunders and Brett Cecil.

Toronto general manager Ross Atkins said last week that, barring any unforeseen circumstances, the club would qualify Bautista and Encarnacion but also said it would try to avoid any emotional decisions regarding the longtime Blue Jays duo.

“In my view and our view is we try to stay away from the emotional pitfalls and try to focus on making good, sound business decisions that will help us sustain championship-winning teams because making emotional decisions is typically not going to end well,” Atkins told Jeff Blair and Stephen Brunt on Sportsnet 590 The Fan.

Also among Blue Jays personnel who could be on the way out of town is bench coach DeMarlo Hale, who Cafardo writes may be considered as a managerial candidate by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Hale, who’s been in Toronto since 2013, worked with new D-backs GM Mike Hazen in the Red Sox system for several years.

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