Toronto Blue Jays: Close to Deal with Jose Bautista?

The Toronto Blue Jays have undergone some changes this off-season but it looks like Jose Bautista will be coming back to the club.

The Toronto Blue Jays have undergone some changes this off-season. Edwin Encarnacion is gone while coming in are Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce. Their other big star, Jose Bautista, has been sitting in the free agent market.

Well, no more, as it looks like Bautista will be staying north of the border with the Blue Jays to play right field and some DH for the club.

Bautista struggled through injuries last year, failing to make the All-Star team for the first time since 2009. He hit .234 with a .817 OPS, 22 homers and 69 RBI in just 116 games in 2016. His WRC+ of 122 was his lowest since 2009. His soft contact rate of 21.3% was his highest since 2011.

His defense suffered too, although you may be able to blame a lot of that on his injuries from last year. He was a -8 DRS which was his worst since 2006.

Bautista gives the Blue Jays a big upgrade over having Ezequiel Carrera or Melvin Upton Jr. in right field for the club next year. It’ll move Steve Pearce into more of a super utility role and help the Jays out in multiple spots.

Bautista may be 36 but I don’t think he’s quite done yet. I think his injuries from 2016 will be more of the exception rather than the norm, though I think it will help if Bautista possibly can DH a bit more this season and in the future.

With this being the last year of giving up a first round draft picks for certain free agents, I think that certainly hurt Bautista’s market. The way teams value defense has also hurt Bautista’s market.

In the end, I think Bautista reuniting with the Blue Jays was probably best for everyone. It eases the blow a little bit of losing Encarnacion this off-season. Bautista should help the Jays offense along with their other additions, remain near the top of the AL East as they look to continue their recent run of success.

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