MLB Rumors: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays in active contract talks

After losing Edwin Encarnacion, the Toronto Blue Jays are determined to keep Jose Bautista on board, even if it’s just for one year.

Just when Jose Bautista thought he was out, the Toronto Blue Jays have pulled him back in. For many Jays fans, this offseason has not gone the way they wanted, especially after their leading home run hitter from last year joined the team that knocked them out of the playoffs. But ever since Edwin Encarnacion made his move, the most persistent rumors surrounding Jose Bautista are about him staying put in Toronto.

And if it wasn’t obvious now, MLB Network is now reporting that the two sides are engaged in active contract discussions:

Many people expected the Blue Jays to try and keep Edwin while letting Jose walk after the respective seasons they had. After all, Bautista is coming off of an injury-plagued season in which he missed 46 games and hit 22 home runs. In the playoffs, he was even worse, as he had a .181 batting average and only hit two home runs. But if there’s any team that knows what he’s capable of, it’s the Blue Jays.

His market has shrunk for a number of reasons. Teams have looked to other options to fill their outfield, and his on-field antics have made the Baltimore Orioles shy away from him. The Jays aren’t likely to give him much money, either. They haven’t made him another offer since the $17.2 million qualifying deal, while Yahoo is reporting that he’s willing to accept a one-year deal.

In Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins’ first offseason, they let David Price walk, but made up for it by acquiring J.A. Happ and filling out the bullpen. While it looked like they were on their way to doing that for Encarnacion, there’s no way Jays fans would’ve been happy with seeing both him and Bautista go. Perhaps a fully-healthy Bautista could make all the difference in the world for the Blue Jays next season.

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