Albert Pujols isn’t the only prospective free agent who doesn’t want to negotiate an extension once the season starts. The defending American League home run champion has set a deadline for contract talks, too. Jose Bautista, whose arbitration hearing is scheduled for Monday, told Ken Fidlin of the Toronto Sun that he won’t be open to negotiating a long-term deal with the Blue Jays during the season.
“I won’t be open to it after the hearing,” Bautista said. “After the hearing, I believe we will notify the team that [an extension] is not going to be a possibility, unless it’s in that window they have from the end of the season until the free agency period begins.”
Bautista says he wants to stay with the Blue Jays, but doesn’t like the idea of negotiating a contract once the season begins.
“My desire is to play in Toronto long term but, after the hearing, or during the season, I have come to the conclusion that it’s probably not the best thing for me to be negotiating any type of deal,” he said. “I want to focus on the game and trying to win ballgames."
Bautista asked for $10.5MM in arbitration and the Blue Jays countered with $7.6MM, as MLBTR’s Arb Tracker shows. The sides have not started discussing an extension, as far as Bautista knows. Click here for more on Bautista's arbitration case.