UPDATE: The Jays and Bautista agreed to a one-year, $18 million deal with two options (one mutual and one vesting) on Tuesday.
ORIGINAL: Despite previous reports that the Blue Jays were nearing a new contract with free-agent slugger Jose Bautista, there is “still work to do” before it gets finalized, according to FanRag’s Jon Heyman. There’s no word yet as to what the holdup is.
As FOX’s Ken Rosenthal reported on Monday, the sides were known to be in serious talks about a one-year contract that included a mutual option for 2018. Earlier reports mentioned the possibility of a two-year contract in the $40 million range, though the one-year arrangement with an option appears more likely at this point.
Bautista has had an enigmatic free agency to this point, drawing strong interest from both the Indians and Rays despite the Blue Jays being considered the favorite all along. Cleveland is an interesting fit after signing former Jay Edwin Encarnacion at the end of last month, while Tampa Bay is seeming to get involved only because of the short-term nature of Bautista’s market.
At this point, the Jays remain the favorite to sign Bautista and reportedly remain in serious talks to bring him back to Toronto. The sides will likely continue ironing out final details within the next couple days, potentially finalizing a deal by the end of the week.