MLB Hot Stove Rumors: Blue Jays have not made a formal offer to Jose Bautista
Aside from the qualifying offer, that is
The free-agent class is saturated with sluggers whose best position is DH. Edwin Encarnacion and Mark Trumbo are the big names, and there's also Chris Carter, Pedro Alvarez, Brandon Moss and Mike Napoli. And Jose Bautista, too. Can't forget him.
The market, however, seems to have forgotten Bautista. He's been involved in very few rumors, and chances are he's going to have to wait until Encarnacion (and Trumbo?) come off the board before teams show serious interest. Not even his former team is willing to bring him back just yet:
Keep in mind this report does not mean the Blue Jays have not talked to Bautista's camp about a return. It just means they haven't put a piece of paper in front of him to sign. The sides could have talked money and contract parameters without getting far enough along to put pen to paper.
The Blue Jays did make Bautista the qualifying offer, and since he rejected it, the team will receive a supplemental first-round pick should he sign elsewhere. The problem is his new team would have to forfeit its first-round pick to sign him, and not many clubs are willing to do that right now.
It's very possible Bautista will be this year's Ian Desmond or Dexter Fowler, the player who remains unsigned late into the offseason because no one wants to give up their first-round pick. In that case, the Blue Jays could try to bring him back on a discounted contract.
There is still a lot of offseason to go -- pitchers and catchers are still eight weeks away from reporting to spring training -- and Bautista's market likely will heat up eventually. He's a tricky case because he's on the wrong side of 35 and is attached to draft-pick compensation. And many folks don't like him.
At the same time, signing an angry Jose Bautista to a discounted one-year contract sounds awfully appealing. The revenge tour could feature lots of dingers and bat flips.