After months of free agent Jose Bautista waiting to sign with hopes of receiving an extensive deal, the Blue Jays re-signed the veteran power hitter to a one-year deal, $18.5 million deal that includes a pair of options, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
Bautista will receive an $18 million base salary in 2017 before a $17 million mutual option or $500k buyout kicks in for 2018. If Bautista returns to Toronto for 2018, he will have a vesting option for 2019 valued at $20 million. All told, Bautista’s deal could max out at $55 million over three seasons if both options are exercised.
Bautista, 36, was considered to be one of the best available free agent hitters, but the delay before he signed might have been costly. The Indians, even after landing Edwin Encarnacion, were among the teams reportedly pursuing Bautista, along with the Rays.
Over 116 games with the Blue Jays last season, Bautista hit .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBIs. He has emerged as one of the game’s best power hitters and will fill a void for Toronto in right field.
Bautista will almost certainly receive the majority of playing time in right field, but the Blue Jays could also consider having him play first base. The addition of Bautista allows the Blue Jays to use Steve Pearce and Justin Smoak in different capacities.