The Blue Jays *Only* Might Be Amenable To A Cespedes-Type Deal With Bautista

Jose Bautista
Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays “might be amenable to a Yoenis Cespedes-type deal” with Jose Bautista.

The Blue Jays “only might be amenable to a Yoenis Cespedes-type deal” with Jose Bautista. [Emphasis mine].

Both of these sentences should be fairly interesting to fans of the Toronto Blue Jays, but I’d say that one is a bit more specific and dispiriting than the other. Isn’t it?

Guess which one Sportsnet used passing along Ken Rosenthal’s original report at Fox Sports?

I bring this up partially just to poke the bear (and the always excellent Nick Ashbourne, who wrote the post in question). But it is kiiiiiinda different without that single word — even if Sportsnet piece comes to what would seem to be the logical conclusion here: an offer like the three-year $75-million one (with a first-year opt-out) that Cespedes just signed would be unlikely to satisfy Bautista’s demands.

To me — and I don’t think I’m wrong here — one of Rosenthal’s sources suggestion that the Jays would do such a deal isn’t much of a story. But that they may only be amenable to that kind of a contract? That’s a story.

For their part (and to be fair to Sportsnet, who I know people love to make conspiracy theories about, which I’m not not contributing to here, I suppose) the Toronto Star was a bit soft on this angle, too.

Here’s the direct quote from Kenny Ken Ken:

For all the talk of Jose Bautista’s contract demands, the Blue Jays only might be amenable to a Yoenis Cespedes-type deal, according to a major-league source.

Only. Might be. Amenable.

As in, that’s as far as they’d go; a short-term, high average annual value contract with an opt out. A deal that would bring Bautista to free agency again at age 39, and would likely ensure he falls well short of the $150-million he hopes to make over the next six years.

Cue wailing from knee-jerk fans about cheap Rogers!

But actually, maybe the idea is kind of smart? OK, maybe not at the $25-million per year level of Cespedes, but hear me out on this.

What if you made Jose the highest paid position player in the game? By AAV right now that’s Miguel Cabrera at $31-million (per Cot’s). In discussing Bautista’s contract matters, we’ve mentioned a lot that Jose is a union guy and someone who most see as a guy who wants to extract as much as he can from owners, and to set new precedents that will raise earnings for every player. For someone like that I’d figure “highest paid player” is a hell of a belt to wear. It also would set the bar for Bryce Harper to go smash through in a couple of years.

It’s also… kinda fair? Maybe beef the Cespedes deal up, make it $100-million over three years with an opt-out, a vesting option for a fourth, and… I dunno, are we any closer to getting a deal done?

I doubt it. But this would allow Bautista to bet on his own fitness for age 39, while giving him a tonne of security in the meantime, that big round number you know he covets, the title of highest paid (position) player you know he’d delight in, and maybe shades him from risk just enough to be tempting.

Uh… maybe? Or maybe not. Probably not until he sees what else is out there, realistically. But maybe!

But what the hell do I know?

And for the Jays, while it’s obviously a huge salary to have to carry — he’d haul in a huge percentage of the bullshit budget that Rogers tells them they have to run — a three-year deal instead of one of five or six is surely worth paying that premium.

Uh… maybe?

What I guess I’m mostly saying, though, is that this — if it’s even true and not just posturing, and if I’m reading it right — is perhaps not something so egregious from cheap Rogers as to immediately rush to sharpen the torches and light up the pitch forks over. Y’know?

  • Steve-O

    Sure. Why not. Let’s say 3/100 with a 4th year mutual option at $1M over whatever the highest paid positional player’s salary is at that point in time? Do it!

    • The Real That Guy

      3/100 sounds pretty high for a guy who’s probably going to be a 1B/DH by the 3rd year.

      I’m not sure the mutual option makes sense either. I’m thinking that if Jose’s playing well enough to accept it, then he’d probably rather chase a two year deal to end his career.

      I don’t think 4/100 would be entirely unreasonable, perhaps with a 5th year team option at a similar salary tacked on.

      What the heck do I know though (hint: very little)

      • Steve-O

        All good. I know even less.

        Just sign him! I don’t care how much it costs. (But when you do, also bump up the payroll, Rogers, you cheap bastards*)

        *Note to Rogers. I meant that in jest, by no means did I mean to imply that the parentage of the Rogers Board of Directors or any employee of the company was born out of wedlock, and if they were, I didn’t mean to imply they are any less of a fully formed human deserving to be treated with the utmost respect and dignity. Hopefully I have saved you the bother of hunting down my IP address and dispatching the police. If you do insist on sending the cops, please ask them to bring a pizza, I’m hungry.

  • Matty

    Love the 100/3 contract with some vesting options. High AAV (he’s good and stuff) with low years (he’s an old baseball player). Opt out after 2 for all I care.

  • Peter DeMarco

    Signing Bautista to a high average annual salary only makes sense if they do this in conjunction with the overall team salary going up. Since at the moment this can not be for certain, I think it is better for the team to wait until either Rogers makes a determination on next seasons payroll.

    I don’t want Jose Bautista making 31 million per year if the budget is only 140 to 150 million. If that happens, this team will not be as good next season:

    2017 Contracts in millions:
    Bautista 31
    Tulowitzki 20
    Martin 20
    Donaldson 17
    Estrada 14
    Happ 13
    Rest of team 25 to 35 million
    Total 140 to 150 million

    • Formerly the Smasher

      It shouldn’t have to be 140 million though.
      The Blue Jays product/tv/merch were incredibly lucrative in 2015.

      Get off your wallet Rogers!

      Maybe if we sell that gold statue instead of throwing it in the lake?

  • Stimpymustwin

    I wonder how much he weighs the open market vs getting security this Spring. Does he accept a 3yr 100 mil extension, with a player opt out after year one?

    He gets the comfort of knowing he can still re hit the market after 2017. While, as stoets says, becoming the highest AAV player in the majors. If he were to seriously injure himself this year, the Blue Jays would be on the hook for the 100M – even if he never played again. I realize this level of injury is unlikely, but that is one hell of an insurance policy…

    DO IT! (also Rogers needs to raise payroll…).

  • Steve-O


    This isn’t going to be resolved before the season starts, which means it won’t be resolved until Bautista tests free agency.

    Which means I’m going to be a basket case until he re-signs or ends up in pinstripes.

    So, my options for 2017 are indescribable joy or infinite sadness.

    Sports is fun.

    Go Jays, you a$$holes!

  • OakvilleJays

    I hope Rogers comes forward & apologizes to the fan who threatened to throw Ed Rogers statue in Lake Ontario.

    I am concerned that Rogers new strategy of filing police complaints against fans who complain about the team will backfire.

      • The Real That Guy

        If anyone should apologize, it’s the police for agreeing to waste their time investigating a Waterloo-based tweet threatening to “decimate” or, much less aggressively (and completely unrealistically), haul a massive bronze statue located in a city 100 km away, hundreds of metres through a city in order to dump it into the Toronto harbour.

        There is no way that the police ever should have gone so far as to end up on that man’s doorstep, even if he was being an idiot.