On Monday morning, Jose Bautista was asked by the media about contract discussions with the Toronto Blue Jays. Bautista's contract expires at the conclusion of the 2016 season and the 35-year old slugger would represent one of the best free agent options on the market if he makes it there.
When asked, it became quickly evident that Bautista has a strong sense of self-worth. Bautista said he 'is not willing to negotiate' with Blue Jays management and that he has 'told them the number' it would take to retain his services. He elaborated by saying 'there's no negotiation, they either meet it or it is what it is.'
To his credit, Bautista says that he 'didn't want to waste [the Blue Jays] time or effort.' Furthermore, Bautista said that the Blue Jays 'can start planning ahead and, this way, they have plenty of time to do so.' This is clear-cut candor, for better or for worse. Bautista 'knows what his value is' and seems completely resigned to wait for that deal to be offered to him.
It might be worth remembering that Bautista, along with four of his teammates at the time, were approached by management to defer some of their contracts so the team could sign Ervin Santana. The deal with Santana fell through though, and the deferrals ended up never happening.
It's also worth noting that a three-team trade involving Jay Bruce was reported to be materializing on the same day as Bautista's comments. It seems like peculiar timing for the Blue Jays to be involved in a rumor involving the acquisition of another right fielder. That deal has reportedly fallen through as well.
When asked about the notion of a home town discount, Bautista remarked that they 'don't exist, not in [his] world.' Bautista went even further to suggest that he's given the Blue Jays a 'five year home town discount already.'
To contextualize, over the past five seasons, the Blue Jays have paid Bautista $64 million. In that time, according to FanGraphs dollar per WAR estimations, Bautista has been worth $195.7 million. That's more than 205 percent of surplus value.
So, how much is Bautista expecting? How much should he be worth? When asked, Bautista did answer with an 'emphatic yes' when asked if he could play for another five years. That means the term of the deal must be at least four years, and could likely be more.
To me, ensuring Bautista retires as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays seems paramount. The fact is, he has given Blue Jays fans his best years at an incredibly good rate. While Bautista shouldn't expect a contract that makes up for lost value, he will still be worth a hefty investment. At this point, there is almost no such thing as an overpay for one of the best players to ever wear a Blue Jays jersey.
Personally, I would happily sign Bautista for five years, $120 million or more, assuming I had those resources.