Jose Bautista returns to the Blue Jays after testing free agency
Jose Bautista is staying with the Toronto Blue Jays after all.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 17, 2017
Bautista, 36, rejected the team’s one-year qualifying offer in November that would have paid him $17.2 million in the 2017 season. Instead, he opted to test the free-agent market, which wasn’t as lucrative as he expected.
Bautista gets $18M/1 year guarantee. options could take it to $60M for 3. #jays
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 17, 2017
Limited to 116 games by injuries last season, Bautista hit .234/.366/.452 with 22 homers, 24 doubles and 69 RBI. In the past nine seasons with the Jays, he has hit .261/.382/.528 with 265 homers and 701 RBI.
He also has swatted six postseason homers with Toronto, including one that resulted in the most famous bat flip of all time:
— MLB (@MLB) January 17, 2017
Bautista will slide back into his right-field spot for Toronto, which avoided losing both of its free-agent sluggers this offseason. First baseman/DH Edwin Encarnacion signed with the Cleveland Indians, and the Blue Jays will replace him with a combination of newcomers Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce.