Three Months Later: Bautista’s Extension


Perhaps no player has exploded from relative obscurity into superstardom like Jose Bautista has over the past year. It's been just under three months since the Blue Jays took a bold step by locking up last year's home run champ for five years and $65MM, but it certainly looks like it's going to pay off.

At the time, MLBTR readers agreed decisively that the contract was too great a risk: 72.42% of the 12,535 polled said they wouldn't have offered Bautista a deal of that magnitude.

Yet here we are three months later, and Bautista has hit his 14th, 15th, and 16th home runs of the season in just his 32nd game played. Entering play today, Fangraphs rated Bautista's value at a whopping 3.5 wins above replacement, primarily thanks to his video game-esque line of .358/.517/.798 (and that's prior to belting three more homers today). Over his past 192 games, he's hit .276/.402/.646., good enough for Dave Cameron of Fangraphs to question whether or not Bautista is the American League's best hitter.

Had Bautista reached free agency following this season, as he was projected to, he could have conceivably tried to exceed the seven-year contracts signed by Jayson Werth ($126MM) and Carl Crawford ($142MM) this past offseason. After all, he and agent Bean Stringfellow could point out that Werth only had three strong seasons prior to inking his deal. Bautista also doesn't have Werth's injury history, and offers the versatility of appearing at third base or in the outfield. And, assuming a 50 HR campaign for Bautista this year, they could argue that he hit as many homers from 2010-11 as Crawford had in his whole career when he signed his contract. At the bare minimum, he'd have commanded $20MM or more per season for five years or more.

Bautista's annual salary of $14MM from 2012 on is less than that of fellow outfielders Torii Hunter, Vernon Wells, Jason Bay, and Alfonso Soriano (to name a few). The total value of his deal exceeds Aaron Rowand's contract by just $4MM over the same number of guaranteed years.

Hindsight is always 20/20, but to this point, it looks like credit has to be given to Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos and his staff for not only assessing that Bautista's 2010 was real and locking him up at a tremendous discount, but also moving Vernon Wells and his contract in order to free up payroll and make such an extension more feasible. Whether or not he's already the AL's best hitter, owning Bautista at such a discount will be a huge factor in the coming years as Toronto continues its quest to take their first AL East title since 1993.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.

99 Responses to Three Months Later: Bautista’s Extension Leave a Reply

  1. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    let’s start this one where the last one left off: no more ridiculous and unsupportable steroid theories

    1. have raw power
    2. be a bad overall hitter
    3. ???
    4. be a great overall hitter with big HR power

    “take steroids” does not get us from 2 to 4. changes in mechanics and approach do, and those things are documented as having occurred at the exact time his performance improved

    the end. good job jose; good luck jays

    • diehardmets 4 years ago

      You forgot the ‘Profit’ step.

    • Pete 4 years ago

      Excellent post.

    • YourBase 4 years ago

       Thank you! This needed to be said.

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      preemptive finish him

    • RedSoxDynasty 4 years ago

      I was skeptical of Bautista but I’m starting to think he’s just a late bloomer and I hope I’m right! It pisses me off that prior generations of inflated ped stats make me wary of what should be a feel good story!

      • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

        well said  

        • RedSoxDynasty 4 years ago

          Ill take that as a peace offering where we can both start from scratch as mature posters. Jays should give AA a raise for the money he saved them with Bautistas deal and dumping Wells IMO!

  2. Sniderlover 4 years ago

    Haha epic timing, right after his 3 homerun game. 

    What a massive bargain.

  3. Triple Hawpes Brewed 4 years ago


  4. meanguygary 4 years ago

    He’s pretty good. 

  5.  By WAR, he has already surpassed his salary in value this year. But that’s not what’s most ridiculous. If he continues at this pace (which he almost definitely won’t), he will post around 14.9 WAR. Using the semi-arbitrary $5 million/WAR, he would be worth an absurd $74.5 MILLION in value this year, more than the total worth of the entirety of the contract. Granted, that it unlikely to happen, but it’s awesome to look at nonetheless.  won’t), he will post around 14.9 WAR. Using the semi-arbitrary $5 million/WAR, he would be worth an absurd $74.5 MILLION in value this year, more than the total worth of the entirety of the contract. Granted, that it unlikely to happen, but it’s awesome to look at nonetheless. 

    • TartanElk 4 years ago

      Yo dawg. I heard you like double posts in posts. So here’s a double post to go in your post so you have a double post.

      •  Yo, dawg, I don’t know what  you’re talking about.

        • TartanElk 4 years ago

          Google “Xzibit Yo Dawg”

          • But I didn’t double post… unless disqus is just messing with me again. 

          • TartanElk 4 years ago

             “By WAR, he has already surpassed his salary in value this year. But that’s not what’s most ridiculous. If he continues at this pace (which he almost definitely won’t), he will post around 14.9 WAR. Using the semi-arbitrary $5 million/WAR, he would be worth an absurd $74.5 MILLION in value this year, more than the total worth of the entirety of the contract. Granted, that it unlikely to happen, but it’s awesome to look at nonetheless.  won’t), he will post around 14.9 WAR. Using the semi-arbitrary $5 million/WAR, he would be worth an absurd $74.5 MILLION in value this year, more than the total worth of the entirety of the contract. Granted, that it unlikely to happen, but it’s awesome to look at nonetheless.”

            This is what I see. So disqus made you 1.5 post.

  6. EdinsonPickle 4 years ago

    I can’t believe what this guy is doing. I remember when he was nothing more than a utility guy. Nobody even knew his name, and now he is one of the best hitters in the game. I can’t remember seeing anything like this ever before. 

    • setupunchtag 4 years ago

      I can’t either. But then I was a lone voice in the wilderness when McGuire and Sosa were doing things in the same season no-one had done before and I was a buzz-kill. I shave with Occam’s Razor, and I’m not buying Bautista’s re-birth. 

    • David Ortiz, maybe, with the Twins. 

  7. churumba 4 years ago

    ex Pittsburgh Pirate like all other players on every team :)

  8. Pete 4 years ago

    And how is Vernon Wells doing right now? Uh, the Jays owe the Angels a BIG favor.

  9. Why do people keep pitching to him? I still wonder this.

    They keep throwing him fastballs inside and over the plate. If you are going to miss, you should miss way outside or way up.

    The Jays have won 5 straight games, without Adam Lind. Bautista has been protected by Encarnacion and Rivera, both of whom have not produced. 

    • Thing is, with his eyes you have to just straight up intentionally walk him. Right now, I would do just that. 

      But if you just try to pitch around him he’ll foul off strikes he doesn’t like, ignore the balls altogether, and then wait for you to make a mistake. Somebody could make a nice strike zone diagram to illustrate this I suspect…

  10. stl_cards16 4 years ago

    So what happened to the “this is the worste contract ever” crowd? 

    • Taskmaster75 4 years ago

       They went and blasted the Wells deal instead.

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      it was still risky at the time regardless of how it plays out it was a risk. .

      but so far so good for the Jays, but in 4 years will it look the same?

      • Manny_Lee 4 years ago

        You know that idea of posting your thoughts when you have something interesting, funny and/or original to add?  Oh, you don’t.  That explains your last post…

        • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

          oh you mean how your only post in this thread is about how my post isn’t interesting, original or funny? Kettle, Pot, Pot, Kettle

          thanks though, but in the future, if I wanted lip from you, I’d rattle my zipper

          • JacksTigers 4 years ago

            How have I never heard that one before. I’m officially ammused.

    • JacksTigers 4 years ago

      Because everyone knows you should always judge a five year deal after a month and half. 

    • He’s 30.  I’m enjoying this run as much as the rest but have to wonder how long it will last.

  11. Encarnacion's Parrot 4 years ago

    So after today’s game, Bautista is now slugging .868 and his OPS is now 1.388.  An increase of 73 points from one game is insanity.

    • His slugging percentage *alone* would make a decent OPS for an outfielder or 3B. It’s absurd. Right after the 3rd HR he was OPS’ing 1.400! 

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

       it just kinda sucks that we might end up witnessing the greatest season by a Blue Jay EVER and not see post season ball..

      • Sniderlover 4 years ago

        We’re not that far off and I don’t see any clear division winner right now.

        We also haven’t had a healthy line-up, Morrow and Francisco were out to start the season too. If we can get consistent pitching from Drabek and Reyes, I think we have a chance. 

        • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

          well the Rays have looked good since their bad start.
          Sox offense is starting to heat up..
          and the yanks offense will carry them even if their pitching stops

          Is it possible for the Jays to contend for the WC? sure

          but it will take a heckava lot more then just drabek and reyes..

          Hill, EE and Rivera would have to start hitting, 2 HR’s between all 3 of them at this point is just pathetic, Cecil, Snider need to come back up and contribute and Lawrie would prob have to come up and adjust very quickly to mlb pitching..

          I just don’t see it all clicking in time

          • Sniderlover 4 years ago

            Rays have been good since their bad start but I don’t think it will last. Their starting rotation and bullpen is pitching too good, just too good. I still think they will have great starting pitching but there is no way their pen stays that good. Also guys like Shields won’t continue to pitch that. Not to mention guys like Joyce, Kotchman are hitting well over their head.

            Yanks offense might carry them but they’ve also got good pitching going on right now which won’t last from guys like Colon, Garcia, Burnett.

            I think Red Sox are the most dangerous of the bunch but their pitching is questionable. Beckett bounced back like I thought he would (actually better) but other than him and Lester, it’s iffy. Buchholz could be good too.

            You have to think at some point E5, Hill and Rivera’s bat will heat up. It will likely balance out once Bautista sees a little bit of regression (his pace is absolutely insane right now). Keep in mind we haven’t played a lot of home games and we had a tough schedule early on with injuries and we kept losing close games.

            I don’t see us winning the division but it’s possible we can get the WC.

          • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

            “You have to think at some point E5, Hill and Rivera’s bat will heat up.”

            I’ve been holding that thought of Hill since last year, at what point do we give up??

            Cecil’s turned the corner, hopefully he will be up soon to help solidify the starting rotation.. bullpen has been absolutely incredible

          • Sniderlover 4 years ago

            A positive sign is his line drive rate which is double than it was last year. Swing has looked better this year so I am hopeful. He’s missed some spring training and the season with the injuries which was at a bad time when he was getting hot.

            Looking forward to seeing Cecil back and hopefully get Reyes out of the rotation.

          • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

            yah I asked you that below,

            i’m guessing cecil in reyes in the bullpen jansen down ..

        • sports33 4 years ago

          Consistent pitching from Reyes? seems a bit unrealistic…

          • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

            cecil will hopefully be up soon to make that irrelevant anyways..

          • Sniderlover 4 years ago

             He doesn’t need to be great… just pitch 6 innings consistently even if he is giving up 4 runs a game. Need our starters to eat some innings.

          • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

             cecil’s 3-0 in his last 3 starts, with a 2.86 era and did 7 innings twice. His velocity is back up and his pitches are down with movement again..

            I wonder what they will do if he pieces another 2 or 3 good starts together and forces them to call him back up.

          • Sniderlover 4 years ago

            After that 1st horrible atrocious start, that’s great news.

            I think he’ll be back up soon. Reyes likely does go to the pen for Cecil and Jansenn sent down but honestly, I want Dotel gone, not Jansenn. Dotel is a terrible pitcher even if he hasn’t been used completely properly. He can’t be used a ROOGY… that’s just weird. I’ll be pissed if they send down Litsch again and keep Reyes in the rotation once Cecil comes up.

          • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

            I agree on Dotel, all he is, is a roogy at this point, and with that many good righties already in the pen who can handle lefties and righties, he’s essentially just taking up a spot being the least useful guy in there.

            I seriously doubt they would send Litsch back down, he’s been pretty decent since coming back up and is far more likely to go deep in to ball games then reyes. Litsch is a perfectly fine 5th starter.

          •  I would call Litsch more of a perfectly fine 4th starter and one of the best 5th starters. The guy just can’t get any love.

          • JayTeam 4 years ago

            It’s been consistently sub-mediocre 

  12. fear the beard

  13. DaveC 4 years ago

     I don’t think anyone ever said this was the worst contract- more that it wasn’t a great deal. I was in that crowd- a year and a few million bucks more than I’d have paid, but all in all, I didn’t mind it THAT much. It was never going to be an albatross on the level of Wells’ deal.

    I think judging a 5 year deal after two months is folly, but really, why do we need to quantify it? As a fan, I’m loving every minute of it. In the back of my mind, I do wonder about the back couple of years, but I’m not obsessing over it. Let’s enjoy the moments.

    We love to put historical context on things right this very minute, but it’s impossible. We need the time for the perspective.

    • renegadeisback 4 years ago

      Already worth 20$ million in 2 months. Sorry, you were wrong.

    • FrankTheFunkasaurusRex 4 years ago

       yeah, i’d still would’ve prefered a 4 year deal. Its unlikely he’ll be producing very well at age 35. But i don’t think it was an option.

    • i think you pretty much nailed it. even if bautista way overperforms for his salary in the first couple years (as he is currently doing), that will be poor consolation for fans and management if they’re paying him for nothing in the back half of the deal. 2 months does not make this deal a win. injury and regression of skill can still get in the way, but at least it is obvious that his talent is no longer in doubt.

  14. hurley55 4 years ago

    Its going to be really sad if hes not the starting RF in the All-Star game…fan balloting is bs 

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      who’s currently leading the votes?

    • BaseballFanatic0707 4 years ago

      If Jose continues to produce and isn’t near the top of overall votes gathered by the time the All Star game rolls around, I will be very cross. He deserves it. As far as I know, he’s doing this cleanly, so I won’t go and point an undeserving finger at him.

      and I’m a Yankees fan.  

  15. renegadeisback 4 years ago

    He’s moved past beastmode. onto GODMODE.

  16. AmericanMovieFan 4 years ago

     The real question to me is not how great this deal now looks for Toronto, but if Bautista and his agent are now kicking themselves for not taking a chance in going to arbitration, getting $8-10MM for this year and then chancing that he’ll be nearly as good in his walk year and then getting a Jayson Werth-sized contract from someone else or even the Jays themselves. He could have easily commanded 6 years/$120MM in the FA market after this season and he’d have an outside shot of 5 years/$150MM from some desperate team.

    I hope Bautista’s contract includes a ton of bonus clauses for awards, titles, all-star appearances, trades, etc.

  17. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    Alan Ashby today

    “he is making a mockery of the game”

    lol  I love alan Ashby 

  18. Who’s to say he can’t produce at age 33-35?  He’s done things the last two years that have defied conventional wisdom.  It’s looking more and more like the Jays saved 60 mil by signing him last year.

    • Mick_In_Ithaca 4 years ago

      Well put. The problem with so much conventional wisdom is that the emphasis is on the conventional not the wisdom. And it becomes more and more conventional as each year goes by. Unfortunately for the purveyors of conventional wisdom, specific individual humans are not always conventional, and they sometimes do highly unconventional things. Jose Bautista is a case in point, but he’s by no means the only one.

      It’s unfortunate that we have to endure the barrage of nay-saying and PED accusations, always rooted thoroughly in conventional wisdom (which hates being defied), instead of being able to simply enjoy a player having really accomplished something that is rare and amazing, and who has done so with considerable grace, style and humility. This is the sort of thing that we’re supposed to love about sport. Unfortunately, it’s now all and only about winning. And if you’re not winning, you’re a loser.

      • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

        i wrote about that yesterday..

        in other sports a player defying logic and overcome mediocrity and rise to sheer god like status would be celebrated and be a great story.. In baseball its met with skepticism and pessimism. Its sad really, and truly unfair to Jose.

        I thought one of the low points of the 2010 season was when a Toronto columnist wrote an article about Bautista with absolutely no proof or reason for any PED allegations. I cant remember who it was but it was truly one of those idiotic articles that makes you hate baseball writers.

        • stl_cards16 4 years ago

          100% agree.  It’s the same even if a player in another sport is caught using PED’s, especially the NFL.  They serve their 4 game suspension then it’s like nothing ever happened.  ESPN will even do specials on you about how good of a person you are.  You get caught in baseball and you destroyed baseball as we know it.  They want to chase you around until you can’t leave your house.   

        • The reporter was Damien Cox, he was on the Star but now hes with Rogers Sportsnet, even aftet those comments

          • I dont know why they let him there

          • Plus he’s a hockey writer for god’s sake…

          • bradspencer 4 years ago

            People like Steve Simmons and Damien Cox are the hipsters of sports writers. Im sure every town can relate to a similar local writer. They gain notoriety by waiting for public consensus and argue the exact opposite point with a smug arrogance. Its a joke that these people have jobs. If they wrote with some evidence or actual research, I’d respect their opinion, but alas that will never happen

    • In baseball, conventional wisdom is supported by 60+ years of history (just counting golden age to today).

      Aside from Nolan Ryan, how many players can you name that defied time and played at a peak level past age 31-32? 

      It may not be a one-in-a-million phenomena, but it’s close.

      • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

        Randy Johnson?

        also, who said he has to play at ‘peak’  

      • Not even… 60 years ago, they didn’t have anywhere near the type of training regimen that they do today. Look at the last 30 years if you want a better sample. I think a point of decline would usually start at 34 or so rather than 31 or 32.

  19. Sniderlover 4 years ago

    I can understand why people are skeptical. It’s unheard of to see someone go from a utility player to a 50 HR hitter but I think those people really have to watch him play because he does not hit towering homeruns, he hits line drives generated from his bat speed and they are basically left field homeruns because his swing is suppose to get ready quicker. Not to mention his great discipline and hit ability to hit mistake pitches. Do drugs somehow give you that ability too?

    He still maintains the same body type. He’s passed the drug tests.

    At what point do people stop accusing him of these allegations without any proof?

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      Can we confirm that PEDs change body types?

    • baseballz 4 years ago

      “At what point do people stop accusing him of these allegations without any proof?”

      Simple, when he starts playing for their team ! 

  20. jays2thetop 4 years ago

    now jose just needs feilder to hit behind him… think prince would come to toronto to hit behind jose and split 1st and DH with Lind?


  21. OK, as far as all the discussion relating to PED use I have to comment on some of the ludicrous defenses posted (and I am writing this as someone who is admittedly suspicious, but will still give Bautista the benefit of the doubt.) Saying you watch the way he hits the ball and that his body mass has remained consistent does not negate the entire argument for his PED use. 

    The elephant remaining in the room since drug testing was strengthened in baseball several years ago is HGH, which remains undetectable through urine analysis. I believe as of right now it can only be detected through a blood test, something the player’s association continues to disapprove of in the overall collective bargaining agreement. HGH promotes incredible muscle recovery and can allow a user to avoid the usual wear on their body after exerting so much force. Regarding Bautista, you often hear of his retooled swing and how it changed everything for him at the plate. His previous career high before last year was 16 HRs with a sub-.800 OPS, although he was never afforded daily playing time over an entire season. It is within reason to think he could have reached 25 HRs and similar rate statistics if given the opportunity in Pittsburgh though. The plate discipline and eye are certainly there as many of you have said, but what is so suspicious to me is the bat speed and force he is able to exert on each and every swing with no significant wear on his body (as of yet). HGH would fit the profile in aiding such an ability, a reasonable HYPOTHESIS, NOT a CONFIRMATION.

    Bautista so far has posted an adjusted OPS+ of 284 (or 184% better offensive production than the combined median of all MLB players), miles ahead of what any other player has compiled over an entire season in the history of baseball (yes, even Bonds and McGwire’s 70+ HR campaigns, Babe Ruth, and Ted Williams). To put that in perspective, Albert Pujols has never even touched above 190 before. As a player who was about to fade into obscurity earning relatively little money before turning 30, the motive is certainly there and he really had nothing to lose. As the last 15 years have taught us, it is reasonable to be weary of these monster seasons. PEDs certainly have a greater affect on some players then others and all I am saying is that it is foolish to entirely dismiss the notion with Bautista the way some others have. Him signing a bargain extension so quickly based on his production (although much more than any money he had earned before) I feel somewhat even adds to the whole uncertainty of the situation. 

  22. Compared to the Crawford deal =p 

  23. sports33 4 years ago


  24. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    so first you tell me my 1st comment wasn’t funny or interesting, whilst you yourself tell me in a uninteresting and unfunny post

    then you mock me for not being a shining light on my community, while making a very long winded and quite stale homophobic comment.

    so far you’re 0/2. but by all means, keep going, after all hypocrisy takes courage.

  25. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    hang it on your wall and cherish it forever.

  26. Manny_Lee 4 years ago

    The point, before it got all mixed up, is that you haunt Blue Jay related comment boards but generally do not add much to the conversation, i.e. “it was still risky at the time regardless of how it plays out it was a risk.”  Also, to throw around the h-phobic word is unnecessary and frankly, a bit callous.  Don’t assume sarcasm, because trust me, it wasn’t there.  BTW, thank you for certificate, I shall cherish it forever…

  27. Manny_Lee 4 years ago

    In case the moderator doesn’t accept my comment to your post Adrian, I didn’t want this hanging out there.  I have no hate (for any race, creed, or kind, save for possibly Lunchbox).  Lunchbox alluded to an act “thanks though, but in the future, if I wanted lip from you, I’d rattle my zipper.”  I assumed that Lunchbox is male, therefore I made an assumption as to his lifestyle.  There should be no assumption in sarcasm (frankly I believe that people of that lifestyle should be allowed all the rights afforded to straight couples)….

  28. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    are you still talking about this? ‘but generally does* not add much to conversation’ you mean like you’re doing now?

    Dude seriously get off it, no body cares

  29. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    its really sad that someone in a baseball forum affects you this much  

    seriously, get over yourself, you’ve added zip to the conversation. If you don’t like my posts don’t read them .. pretty simple concept, yet I have a feeling you are going to post yet another very long winded explatation of something no one cares about.

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