Jays not pursuing Bautista extension
Toronto’s Jose Bautista leads the major leagues with 30 home runs. But the Blue Jays aren’t currently discussing a contract extension with him.
“We have had no discussions regarding Jose and the Blue Jays,” Bautista’s agent, Bean Stringfellow, said in an e-mail to FOXSports.com late Wednesday night.
That could impact whether Bautista remains with the Blue Jays beyond Saturday’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trade deadline.
On the face of it, there is no urgency for Toronto to pursue an extension with Bautista. His $2.4 million salary isn’t a burden on the Jays’ books. He will be affordable through salary arbitration next year. He isn’t scheduled to become a free agent until after the 2011 season.
And it can be risky to sign a player based on a career-best season like Bautista is enjoying. The 29-year-old, who became a first-time All-Star earlier this month, has set highs in home runs and RBIs with more than two months to play.
Of course, the Blue Jays could seize upon Bautista’s power surge by trading him at peak value. For that to happen, though, a suitor probably would need to overwhelm General Manager Alex Anthopoulos. Major league sources say Anthopoulos hasn’t ruled out a trade, but has attached a very high price tag to his slugging right fielder.
That is why a number of executives in the industry on Wednesday said that they didn’t expect Bautista to be moved this week, unless the price drops in the final days.
“But,” cautioned an official of one American League club, “Alex can be pretty aggressive, so I wouldn’t put it past him to sell high.”
A number of clubs could upgrade in right field or at third base, Bautista’s primary positions this year. Among them: the Giants, Padres, Rays, Twins, Phillies and Cardinals.