7:44pm: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the contract would also include a sixth year club option that could push the total value of the deal to $78MM (Twitter link).
7:05pm: The Blue Jays and Jose Bautista are close to agreeing to a five-year contract extension worth approximately $65MM, reports Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes. The deal would also include financial support for Bautista's charitable activities in Toronto and the Dominican Republic. Some details still need to be worked out and a physical must take place before the contract is finalized.
As our Arbitration Tracker shows, Bautista filed for $10.5MM his final time through arbitration, the team $7.6MM. A five-year contract would buy out his final year of arbitration plus four free agent years. The two sides asked to have their arbitration hearing pushed back earlier this week, and indication that they were closing in on deal.
Bautista, 30, is coming off a historic 2010 season in which he hit 54 homers, the 19th highest single-season total in history. He also drew 100 walks, so his prodigous power output was backed up by a .378 OBP. Of course that was the first time Bautista performed at a star level. He'd hit just .238/.329/.400 with 59 homers in over 2,000 career plate appearances coming into 2010, so the Jays are clearly expecting Bautista to repeat last year's performance into his mid-30's.