Bautista arbitration hearing postponed

BY foxsports • February 14, 2011

While much of the baseball world is focused on Albert Pujols, another slugger may sign a multiyear contract extension before the week is out.

Jose Bautista and the Toronto Blue Jays postponed their salary arbitration hearing, originally scheduled for Monday, so they can continue discussing a long-term deal. Bautista said in a text message to that the hearing has been rescheduled for Friday and confirmed that the sides are talking about multiyear proposals.

Bautista is in for a hectic week whether he receives an extension or not. He is in Phoenix, where the Major League Baseball arbitration hearings are being held. Blue Jays position players are scheduled to report to camp in Dunedin, Fla., on Friday — the same day as the rescheduled hearing. Bautista would then need to fly across the country prior to the first full-squad workout on Saturday morning.

Bautista, who led the big leagues last year with 54 home runs, is set to become a free agent after this season. The hearing was scheduled to determine whether he would earn $10.5 million (his request) or $7.6 million (the team’s request) this year. A multiyear extension would make that moot.

Monday’s postponement was crucial to the chances of a long-term deal, since last week Bautista told Ken Fidlin of The Toronto Sun that he wouldn’t discuss a contract extension after the hearing.

Bautista, 30, said over the weekend that he was “still very hopeful” about his chances of remaining with the Blue Jays for the long term.

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