MLB Hot Stove Signings: Blue Jays, Jose Bautista agree to one-year deal
At long last, the slugger returns to Toronto
The Blue Jays and free agent outfielder Jose Bautista have agreed to terms on a one-year deal, the club announced Wednesday morning. The deal is reportedly also has at least one mutual option and could end up being three years in all. Jon Heyman has the deal as one year and $18 million with options making three years and $60 million the ceiling.
Bautista, 36, hit .234/.366/.452 with 24 doubles, 22 homers and 69 RBI last season. He only appeared in 116 games due to knee issues. In the past seven seasons, he's hit .264/.387/.542 with 249 home runs. He's a six-time All-Star with four top-eight finishes in AL MVP voting. He's led the league in home runs twice, walks twice and slugging percentage once.
We know all about the power potential, but perhaps Bautista's best skill moving forward should be his on-base percentage. I recently wrote about his ability to be a good leadoff hitter and that's how he should fit with the Blue Jays.
With Bautista back in tow, the lineup could look something like this:
The loss of Edwin Encarnacion definitely hurts the middle of the lineup, but the return of Bautista teamed with the acquisitions of Morales and Pearce certainly softens the blow for the AL wild-card winner.
The smart money now for the Jays is that they're mostly done for the offseason. Sure, there's always tinkering, but another big-ticket move seems unlikely.
The slugger market still has several names available. Mark Trumbo, Mike Napoli and Chris Carter are still out there. Matt Wieters isn't really a slugger, but he has good power for a catcher. Luis Valbuena is a cheaper option as well, as he's good for about 20 homers.
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