A little over a week ago, tensions were high between the Blue Jays and bat flipping legend Jose Bautista. The impending free agent submitted his demands for a contract extension, and subsequently said "there's no negotiation. I told them what I wanted. They either meet it or it is what it is."
Bautista has undoubtedly been fantastic for Toronto over the last six years, but that's a bold stance to take. While an extension might have been possible at one point in time, if Bautista won't budge from the demands that he's submitted, a resolution doesn't seem likely.
Soon after this news broke, Rick Westhead of TSN reported that Bautista had asked for a five-year contract in the range of $30 million per year. Nobody could confirm where that information came from (for clear reasons) but it wasn't hard to take an educated guess.
"Obviously we don't know who leaked this information, but it's fair to wonder, and perhaps even to assume that it was someone in Toronto's front office. They know how badly the fans want Bautista to stay, and while they'd likely want him back too, at his asking price, there's no way an extension is going to happen. Leaking this information would make a lot of sense from the front office's view point, because now everyone know's the exact dollar figures that are in play, and the vast majority of fans will understand his demands are too high."
That was written when we thought the five-year, $150 million offer was accurate, but we later learned that Bautista is asking for more years, and more overall money; making it even less likely that a deal will be reached. Instead of having private discussions, and negotiating in closed door sessions, both sides are using the media to their respective advantages, and today, Bautista fired off another salvo.
"Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista already shot down the report that he requested a five-year, $150-million deal in order to re-sign, and believes he knows the source of the leak.Speaking with Hall of Fame baseball columnist Peter Gammons, Bautista said he thinks his contract demands were leaked by team owner Rogers Communications to make him appear greedy."
It's one thing for writers to speculate on the source of a leak, but it's another thing entirely for a player to come out and accuse a specific person, or an organization of being guilty. This entire situation has seemingly become a shouting match through different members of the media, and it's nearly impossible to imagine a scenario in which the Blue Jays and Bautista come to an agreement. There's also the issue that Edwin Encarnacion wants an extension himself, and Toronto will likely need to choose one or the other.
Unless there's a dramatic shift in how Bautista and the Blue Jays want to approach this situation, this could be his final year in Canada.