More Than Five Years, More Than $150-Million

Andrew Stoeten
February 24 2016 11:08AM

Jose Bautista
Photo Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

I could use not talking about this Jose Bautista contract stuff any longer, seeing as the only movement we're going to see on it from the Jays' side of things is, I'm now exceptionally certain, when they let him move on into free agency next fall.

They're definitely not going to trade him (so please stop that), but a day after we figured he was crazy for possibly asking for five years and $150-million -- or figuring that figure was so outlandish that the report must be bunk -- we're learning that what he actually wants is more.

LOLOLOLOL.

And that's coming from the two best-sourced guys in the game, Jon Heyman and Ken Rosenthal.

To wit:

If it's true, it's pretty amazingly absurd. Especially for a guy whose savvy we were praising two days ago because of how cognizant his is of how the club's parent company operates.

Heyman points out that Bautista is in tremendous shape and showing no signs of decline -- which, at least on the defensive side of the ball, I'd quibble with (and so would URZ and DRS -- though they'd also say the only years he wasn't straight-up bad in right field were 2012 and 2013) -- and that Alex Rodriguez and Miguel Cabrera are getting paid through their age 42 seasons. But, of course, all of that is completely beside the point.

Dave Cameron hits the nail on the head in a piece at FanGraphs (which was written back when it was only a reported five-year, $150-million ask):

It’s patently incorrect to look at what other players are going to get for their age 36-40 seasons on deals that start earlier. You simply can’t look at Cabrera’s deal with the Tigers, which covers his age 33-40 seasons, and pretend that the Tigers would have paid the same price for the last five years of the deal if they weren’t also buying out his age 33-35 seasons, and Bautista won’t have those to sell.

Jose, if the reports are accurate, is trying to make up a huge deficit with one swing, and of all people he should know that you just can't do that. It's unfortunate for him that he made so much less than his market value for the entirety of his current contract with the Blue Jays, but it was fortunate for him that they were willing to take the risk and lock him up for so long when they did, given that he had only one season as an elite slugger under his belt at the time.

We know now that he would have made significantly more if he hadn't signed that deal and gone to free agency following the 2012 season, but that was hugely uncertain in the winter following 2011 -- even for him, otherwise he wouldn't have put pen to paper. But that doesn't mean his market now is going to -- or ought to -- reflect those years he's already cashed a cheque for. If this demand is true, and it holds, he'll hit the open market and will surely see very quickly how crazy it is.

Just about every team will be willing to go to three years on him, some will be willing to offer him four, and the team that gives him an offer of five, if there is one, will probably be the one who gets him. But how many teams will go to six years? How many teams have ever give a player heading into his age-36 season that many years?

In lieu of actually doing research, I'm just going to go ahead and say none. (I crowdsourced this question, and the most anyone can seem to come up with is Barry Bonds getting five years and $90-million in 2002, heading into his age-37 year).

And as great a job as Jose has done of keeping himself in shape, and as advantageous a position as he has as the top bat in a weak free agent class, it seems inconceivable that the market next winter will tell him anything but exactly that. 

Which is fine. Go see what the market says, Jose! You know he'd hate himself a little bit for once again giving up the chance to find out, and I'd wager that is precisely why he's put such a ridiculous premium on getting himself locked up early.

But obviously for the Blue Jays the problem is that once other teams get involved in it, it's going to be a whole lot harder for them to play ball. At least theoretically -- or, more accurately, at least given the artificial constraints on the club's budget.

So... maybe start to steady yourself for this not ending well. But in the meantime don't get too hung up on the particulars of this ask. All it is is Jose's way of saying that he badly wants to test the market and see what he's really worth. Because it's certainly not this, and he has to know that, even if he maybe doesn't want to believe it. Time marches forward. 

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Andrew Stoeten, co-creator of Drunk Jays Fans, has written about, podcasted, tweeted, lived and breathed Toronto Blue Jays baseball full time since 2006. He sometimes responds to emails to stoeten@gmail.com. Follow him: @AndrewStoeten.
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#51 2damkule
February 24 2016, 12:39PM
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karen wrote:

Hello?

SUCCESS!

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#52 Steve-O
February 24 2016, 12:39PM
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Chone Figgins wrote:

for the last 2 weeks, I've been pointing and laughing at my 16 year old niece about kanye west, and her love for kanye west, and what a douchebag POS kanye west is - yesterday, she turned the table on me...thanks Jose

He's a douchebag POS now?

It's too bad that I can only trash this trash comment once. Because it's trash.

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#53 AJ, Breakfast Army Fan
February 24 2016, 12:39PM
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I'm willing to keep the trash it button if we replace it with this image:

http://i.imgur.com/xnEWE.jpg

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#54 Steve-O
February 24 2016, 12:41PM
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karen wrote:

Hello?

Hello.

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#55 Morgan Burton
February 24 2016, 12:42PM
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Turns out he was talking about CDN dollars folks! Whew! 109 MIL USD over 5 years! Still, that will buy ya a lot of Strawberry Sunshines, am I right??

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#56 AJ, Breakfast Army Fan
February 24 2016, 12:47PM
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Morgan Burton wrote:

Turns out he was talking about CDN dollars folks! Whew! 109 MIL USD over 5 years! Still, that will buy ya a lot of Strawberry Sunshines, am I right??

If only this was somehow true and was just a massive troll job by Jose. I'd give him an extra year for that.

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#57 OakvilleJays
February 24 2016, 12:48PM
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fastball wrote:

I'm pretty much resigned to Jose walking away after this season. I can't see any way that the Jays would go 6 years on him - and I can't see much of a chance that he's going to back down after a public statement. I get the impression that he's either supremely confident (or terribly arrogant) - but either way, any kind of softening on his part would seem like a concession...and I don't think his ego would stand for it. While I totally understand his position - but in all fairness, Jose, the world isn't fair. Sure, you should have gotten a lot more money over the past 3-odd seasons. I get that. But by polarizing the fanbase and waving the red flag so publicly in management's face - I'm hoping that we won't cut off our nose to spite our face.

Agreed. It's strange how quickly Bautista was to discuss his contract situation.I would prefer to focus on the team trying to win the division again.

I think there are 10 players in their walk year, so there is a lot of potential for disruption in the clubhouse.

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#58 Dabbles
February 24 2016, 12:49PM
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Morgan Burton wrote:

Turns out he was talking about CDN dollars folks! Whew! 109 MIL USD over 5 years! Still, that will buy ya a lot of Strawberry Sunshines, am I right??

Your both wrong. He was talking about Dominican Pesos...

$150,000,000 = $3,278,334.00 USD

I am pissed Shatkins turned it down.

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#59 AJ, Breakfast Army Fan
February 24 2016, 12:50PM
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OakvilleJays wrote:

Agreed. It's strange how quickly Bautista was to discuss his contract situation.I would prefer to focus on the team trying to win the division again.

I think there are 10 players in their walk year, so there is a lot of potential for disruption in the clubhouse.

In your mind, maybe.

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#60 JustinTet
February 24 2016, 01:02PM
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Steve-O wrote:

No he didn't.

You can't say "I gave the team a number and am not willing to negotiate" without expecting people to speculate about what the number is.

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#61 RADAR
February 24 2016, 01:06PM
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karen wrote:

Hello?

Howdy?Glad to see ya.

Hello, it's me I was wondering if after all these years you'd like to meet To go over everything They say that time's supposed to heal ya But I ain't done much healing

Hello, can you hear me? I'm in California dreaming about who we used to be When we were younger and free I've forgotten how it felt before the world fell at our feet

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#62 Chill
February 24 2016, 01:18PM
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Just win the damn WS and we can deal with whatever happens after that.

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#63 Chone Figgins
February 24 2016, 01:23PM
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Steve-O wrote:

He's a douchebag POS now?

It's too bad that I can only trash this trash comment once. Because it's trash.

damn bro, never took you for a Kanye guy

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#64 FowlofCanada
February 24 2016, 01:33PM
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karen wrote:

Hello?

Is it me you're looking for?

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#65 Sac Bunt
February 24 2016, 01:37PM
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FowlofCanada wrote:

Is it me you're looking for?

I can see it in your eyes.

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#66 HEINZ
February 24 2016, 02:07PM
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I think its fair to compare A-Rod and Miggy's contracts because lets look at this logically. Bautista is gonna most likely be hitting just as good in years 4-5 and 6 (if he gets that...he's not going to) as a A-Rod and Miggy will be. The probability of that with the way he keeps in shape and how hard he works is high. No matter what its ALWAYS gonnna be a gamble but he's the type of player you would be high on, we know thats the case.

But in years 4-5 hes gonna be the only DH in MLB history in that kind of shape. He's just going to be, barring no crazy injury (but thats like any other player/teams gamble). Again the probability with how he's been going is SUPER high. I think its more correct that you cant use any other players numbers of decline and contracts talk when comparing Bautista to them. Its not fair to say you can only use the negative aspects of those numbers of other players but not the positive, thats just using information in your favour and disregarding the information that works against your argument as to why you think its a bad idea. Ass backwards.

Would i give Jose 6 years? only if the amount that year is significantly low or somehow the contract is backloaded or something clever. I def would doe the 5 years for 30M tho. Get it done. I think its a better investment than a short term/lower cost of EE if you are choosing 1 of the 2. Not just on the field but off the field marketing wise.

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#67 OakvilleJays
February 24 2016, 02:31PM
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AJ, Breakfast Army Fan wrote:

In your mind, maybe.

You don't think that having 10 guys out of 25 that may not be around in 2017 isn't disruptive?

That seems to be pretty high compare to other clubs.

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#68 Vermin Wells
February 24 2016, 03:03PM
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HEINZ wrote:

I think its fair to compare A-Rod and Miggy's contracts because lets look at this logically. Bautista is gonna most likely be hitting just as good in years 4-5 and 6 (if he gets that...he's not going to) as a A-Rod and Miggy will be. The probability of that with the way he keeps in shape and how hard he works is high. No matter what its ALWAYS gonnna be a gamble but he's the type of player you would be high on, we know thats the case.

But in years 4-5 hes gonna be the only DH in MLB history in that kind of shape. He's just going to be, barring no crazy injury (but thats like any other player/teams gamble). Again the probability with how he's been going is SUPER high. I think its more correct that you cant use any other players numbers of decline and contracts talk when comparing Bautista to them. Its not fair to say you can only use the negative aspects of those numbers of other players but not the positive, thats just using information in your favour and disregarding the information that works against your argument as to why you think its a bad idea. Ass backwards.

Would i give Jose 6 years? only if the amount that year is significantly low or somehow the contract is backloaded or something clever. I def would doe the 5 years for 30M tho. Get it done. I think its a better investment than a short term/lower cost of EE if you are choosing 1 of the 2. Not just on the field but off the field marketing wise.

If you were buying JB's 32-35 years along with his 36-40 years, you might be able to compare his worth to Miggy's or ARod's in the same breath. But Jose doesn't have those years to sell, and there's a huge difference. Those players don't get the same $30M+ AAV, or the same number of contract years, if they sign deals at 36.

I expect Jose to age well too, but let's not go nuts. To expect him to age better than any player in MLB history is a bit optimistic.

P.S. RIP Kelly Leak

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#69 karen
February 24 2016, 03:18PM
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RADAR wrote:

Howdy?Glad to see ya.

Hello, it's me I was wondering if after all these years you'd like to meet To go over everything They say that time's supposed to heal ya But I ain't done much healing

Hello, can you hear me? I'm in California dreaming about who we used to be When we were younger and free I've forgotten how it felt before the world fell at our feet

I guess I'm in the right place. You guys sure have changed.

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#70 RADAR
February 24 2016, 03:23PM
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karen wrote:

I guess I'm in the right place. You guys sure have changed.

I thought it was cute. I haven't changed at all, still as good looking as ever before. And I'm not old just vintage.

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#71 HEINZ
February 24 2016, 04:05PM
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@Vermin Wells

delete

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#72 Twaind
February 24 2016, 04:10PM
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Wrote a couple words about Bautista's contract: http://benchlifesports.com/2016/02/24/joses-last-ride/

Cliff notes version: enjoy Joey Bats while we have him Any feedback is welcome

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#73 HEINZ
February 24 2016, 04:12PM
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Vermin Wells wrote:

If you were buying JB's 32-35 years along with his 36-40 years, you might be able to compare his worth to Miggy's or ARod's in the same breath. But Jose doesn't have those years to sell, and there's a huge difference. Those players don't get the same $30M+ AAV, or the same number of contract years, if they sign deals at 36.

I expect Jose to age well too, but let's not go nuts. To expect him to age better than any player in MLB history is a bit optimistic.

P.S. RIP Kelly Leak

Yeah but of anyone in the MLB right now who would u bet on aging any better? Not even Harper or Trout fit that because of how hard they go in the OF and they are far much younger and will have WAY more milage.

Regardless i get its a gamble either way but to say Jose isn't sitting on the side of being in better shape in that 4,5, or 6th year is in fact a legit argument. It's like people only wanna agree that he's worth that money if you have guarantee but when is that ever the case? This situation is the best odds you'll find for a very long time.

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#74 Chone Figgins
February 24 2016, 04:30PM
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AJ, Breakfast Army Fan wrote:

Trashed this for 1. Mentioning Kanye West and 2. Comparing Jose to Kanye West

I appreciate the transparency

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#75 JustinTet
February 24 2016, 04:43PM
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HEINZ wrote:

Yeah but of anyone in the MLB right now who would u bet on aging any better? Not even Harper or Trout fit that because of how hard they go in the OF and they are far much younger and will have WAY more milage.

Regardless i get its a gamble either way but to say Jose isn't sitting on the side of being in better shape in that 4,5, or 6th year is in fact a legit argument. It's like people only wanna agree that he's worth that money if you have guarantee but when is that ever the case? This situation is the best odds you'll find for a very long time.

"Yeah but of anyone in the MLB right now who would u bet on aging any better?"

Someone not already 35

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#76 lil eddie
February 24 2016, 05:04PM
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karen wrote:

Hello?

is it me you're looking for?

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#77 mktoronto
February 24 2016, 06:27PM
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The Drunken Wolf wrote:

Evened it out for you. The trashes are kinda lame. I'm sure someone just goes up and down the comment section and trashes everything, based on some of the previously reasonable comments having more downs than ups. FWIW, I hope you're right and it isn't Jose.

Wouldn't be surprised if it's our resident troll.

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#78 mktoronto
February 24 2016, 06:29PM
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Derrick wrote:

I absolutely hate talking about this. It's boring and has nothing to do with why I enjoy the Blue Jays and watching baseball.

I'm frustrated with Jose for brining it up. There is no reason he needed to talk about it at all and now he and Shapiro and Co. (who I was starting to warm up to) need to deal with it for the remainder of Spring Training and the rest of the season.

And to what end?

He brought it up because the media asked him. And no matter what he said the media would keep bringing it up. By framing it the way he did it becomes a story for a week and then disappears.

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#79 mktoronto
February 24 2016, 06:32PM
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Canard wrote:

Again, qualify him and let him test the market. Then match the best offer he gets, which certainly won't be anywhere near what he's asking for.

He probably knows that. He's asking a premium to have him forgo that market.

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#80 mktoronto
February 24 2016, 06:36PM
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JustinTet wrote:

Assuming he lets the Jays match

Why wouldn't he? The more potential buyers in the market, the better for him.

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#81 mktoronto
February 24 2016, 06:39PM
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fastball wrote:

I'm pretty much resigned to Jose walking away after this season. I can't see any way that the Jays would go 6 years on him - and I can't see much of a chance that he's going to back down after a public statement. I get the impression that he's either supremely confident (or terribly arrogant) - but either way, any kind of softening on his part would seem like a concession...and I don't think his ego would stand for it. While I totally understand his position - but in all fairness, Jose, the world isn't fair. Sure, you should have gotten a lot more money over the past 3-odd seasons. I get that. But by polarizing the fanbase and waving the red flag so publicly in management's face - I'm hoping that we won't cut off our nose to spite our face.

You do realize that he's not talking numbers, that this is all coming from other sources, right? He can also easily adjust the story after the season by saying that he was charging a premium to forgo the market.

I don't see where he's being polarizing. It's the trash media wanting to get clicks that is driving this.

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#82 Vermin Wells
February 24 2016, 06:43PM
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HEINZ wrote:

Yeah but of anyone in the MLB right now who would u bet on aging any better? Not even Harper or Trout fit that because of how hard they go in the OF and they are far much younger and will have WAY more milage.

Regardless i get its a gamble either way but to say Jose isn't sitting on the side of being in better shape in that 4,5, or 6th year is in fact a legit argument. It's like people only wanna agree that he's worth that money if you have guarantee but when is that ever the case? This situation is the best odds you'll find for a very long time.

If the choice was 'pick a 35-year-old to make a $150M bet on', Jose's probably my guy. I'm with you that far. But in the past 70 years or so, about 5 guys have produced enough at age 36-40 to earn the contract we're hearing about. Jose might turn into Ted Williams, I suppose, but at that price, he'll likely do it in Boston.

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#83 mktoronto
February 24 2016, 06:46PM
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karen wrote:

Hello?

Karen! So glad to see you! Test things out, then email Thomas at thom.drance@gmail.com about the stuff you hate. They will be making adjustments.

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#84 mktoronto
February 24 2016, 06:52PM
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OakvilleJays wrote:

You don't think that having 10 guys out of 25 that may not be around in 2017 isn't disruptive?

That seems to be pretty high compare to other clubs.

It could be very motivating instead. Wanting to win with this band of brothers, not knowing what the future holds. It doesn't have to be negative.

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