What Can the Blue Jays Expect From Aging Slugger José Bautista In 2017?

José Bautista
Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

“I don’t think there should be any negotiations.”

That was Jose Bautista last spring, speaking to a gaggle of reporters about his looming free agent walk year, failing to be careful what he wished for.

It has likely been a rather lonely winter for the man they call Joey Bats. After declining the Blue Jays’ $17.2 million qualifying offer in early November, and in the process chaining a draft pick around his own neck, Bautista sat and waited as the market for one-dimensional power hitters collapsed around him.

We all know about Edwin Encarnacion’s roller coaster ride through free agency. Before that even began there was a sign that things could get ugly, when Chris Carter, who hit 41 home runs for the Brewers, wasn’t even tendered a contract. Mark Trumbo hit 47 home runs for the Orioles, and yet his name—like Bautista’s name—hardly appeared in rumours.