Jose Bautista says he's told Blue Jays what deal he'd agree to
Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista stretches his arms as he walks up the field in the first official workout of spring training in Dunedin, Fla., on February 22, 2016. (Frank Gunn / The Canadian Press)
Noah Trister, The Associated Press
Published Monday, February 22, 2016 5:17PM EST
Last Updated Monday, February 22, 2016 7:04PM EST
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Jose Bautista sees no reason for a lot of back and forth about his contract.
The Toronto slugger said Monday he has let the Blue Jays know what it would take to keep him, and is waiting for an answer. Bautista is entering the final year of his deal. The 35-year-old outfielder is coming off a 40-homer season in which he helped Toronto to an AL East title and its first post-season appearance since 1993.
"I don't think there should be any negotiations. I think I've proved myself, and the question has been asked -- what will it take -- and I've given them an answer," Bautista said. "I'm not going to sit here and try to bargain for a couple dollars."
Wearing a shirt that said "HOME IS TORONTO," Bautista spoke to reporters for about 15 minutes Monday, after the Blue Jays held their first official workout for pitchers and catchers. It was fitting that Bautista's comments made the biggest news of the day. Toronto is still a team built around its offence after Bautista, Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion and Troy Tulowitzki powered the Blue Jays to the AL Championship Series last year.
Bautista and Encarnacion are in the final year of their contracts. Bautista said he let the team know a couple weeks ago what kind of deal he wanted, and that his agent has been involved in the process.
"I'm not trying to sound like it was adamant and I put down the law and I drew lines in the sand," Bautista said. "They asked me a question and I gave them an answer."
Toronto general manager Ross Atkins is expected to talk to reporters later this week. Atkins was hired to work with Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro after GM Alex Anthopoulos left the team this off-season.
Bautista said he has "nothing but praise" for what Shapiro and Atkins have done so far, even while his own future remains uncertain.
"I think they know and realize the things that I say and agree with me. It's just a matter of, are they willing to go there?" Bautista said. "And it's not just necessarily Ross and Mark. I can't say that, I don't know. Some of that decision making, of a contract the size that I presented, has to come from ownership."
The Blue Jays are owned by Rogers Communications.
"In a publicly traded company, everybody can track their performance fairly easy. It's not a secret. It's out in the public," Bautista said. "Stock prices are monitored very closely by the whole financial world, and I think there is a direct correlation with the success of their earnings-per-share after we start experiencing success. Are they going to put it out in the media and say because of the Jays, we made all this money? No. But everybody can read between the lines."
Bautista made $64 million over the past five years, and the Blue Jays exercised his $14 million option for 2016. He says he feels he's outperformed that contract, and he dismissed the idea of a so-called hometown discount.
"That doesn't exist. Not in my world," Bautista said. "In my eyes, I've given this organization a five-year hometown discount already."
Bautista signed his long-term deal in 2011, when he was coming off a 54-homer season that more than tripled his career high in that category. He has averaged 35 home runs a year since then.
Encarnacion's agent has said his client would cease negotiations once the regular season begins. Bautista didn't say anything like that, but he certainly seemed intent on leaving the issue firmly on management.
"I didn't want to waste their time or their effort, so they can start planning ahead, and if it's not going to happen, they have plenty of time to do so," Bautista said. "They asked me about two weeks ago, and I told them, and that's it. There's no negotiation. I told them what I wanted. They either meet it, or it is what it is."