Jose Bautista, an unlikely home run champion if there ever was one, signed a five-year, $64MM extension yesterday. The Blue Jays are hoping that the 30-year-old's breakout season (.260/.378/.617 line, 54 homers) is a sign that Bautista has transformed himself as a hitter. The skeptics, however, are not convinced that one year of elite production warrants a $64MM commitment.
Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has earned the benefit of the doubt, if you ask ESPN.com's Buster Olney. But Olney says he probably would have traded Bautista if any team "dangled an acceptable package" and let another organization risk its money.
Dave Cameron of FanGraphs, who wasn't sure about the deal initially, says he likes the extension the more he considers it. Bautista has unusually good control of the strike zone and can still be one of baseball's most productive hitters if his power drops off, according to Cameron.
Anthopoulos told MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm that he believes in Bautista and is willing to take a calculated risk on him. Would you have done the same thing?
I was shocked when a seemingly financially responsible GM like Alex Anthropolous signed a 30 year old with one great year to a salary that will pay him $14 annually from 2012-2015.
It won’t break the bank and he’s likely to hit in the 25-30 home run range for a nice portion of this deal, but I don’t think this is where money should have been allocated to.
On the surface, it does seem surprising, yes. However, when you put it in the context of the market, where almost every single top FA got paid more than expected, it doesn’t seem that odd or out of place.
If the market value is 5 million per win, you are effectively paying him for a little less than 3 wins a season. Now, I’m not saying he’s going to put up 7 wins again, but 3 wins per season isn’t that unrealistic of an expectation. He will regress, yes, but definitely not to his pre-2010 self. When you see a change in 5-6 wins in a season, something has to have legitimately changed, and I’m not talking about steroid use.
As far as this extension? I’d say its pretty fair for both sides. My only real concern is the length of the contract.
However, you are using this year’s market for next year’s market. The market changes every year so handing out a deal during a shortage isn’t the best option in my opinion. This year we only really had 2 FA OFers of note in Crawford and Werth; next year, we are looking at a lot more guys available that are OFers and more good hitters that aren’t OFers. (Obviously guys can resign but the list is pretty big now) I also realize this creates demand since FAs are leaving teams but some teams will use in-house options instead.
The Blue Jays are effectively signing a deal based on his breakout year. In many cases, that just leads to disaster. The WAR rate is just a really simple guideline and isn’t very useful. A player’s monetary value is based more on the market for his services than how much WAR he contributes. (for instance, a good hitting corner OFer is much more common than a good hitting SS) Anyway, consider Bautista’s values before his breakout season — not so good. A drop of 200+ OPS is not unheard of: just look at Ben Zobrist (who posted a 8+ WAR season)
I really think 1 more season is needed to evaluate his true talent. Even if he posts good numbers, it’s not a loss because he would be a valuable trade candidate.
If you count September 2009, when he started getting consistent ABs (930 OPS, 10HR in 100ABs), he has now hit like a superstar for about 660 AB out of 2300 career AB. So he’s been hitting like a stud for the most recent 1/3rd of his career.
That is selection bias. When was it exactly when Bautista changed his approach? (Because, he posted a .741 OPS in April, then a 1.188 OPS the next month then a .693 OPS after that) The Pirates also gave him consistent ABs for 2007 and he didn’t do much. 660 AB is definitely not enough for a confident conclusion. Are we supposed to just throw out the other 2/3’s of his career?
Every year, there are guys who just have fluke seasons. Jose Bautista is not the first guy to do this. It’s quite clear that fans, especially Blue Jay fans, want to believe in change because it’s the better story (as opposed to a fluke season). Last year is was Ben Zobrist, the year before that it was Ludwig, and the year before that it was Magglio Ordonez. These guys post a monster season and then fall back to earth.
I don’t think it’s that bad a signing. He’s like a poor man’s Jose Bautista. Oh wait…
Yeah this contract doesn’t make all that much sense to me. They got out from one bad contract and ran straight to another potentially bad contract. I mean it could work out for them but I certainly wouldn’t bet $64 million on it if I was Anthopolous.
Every big money contract is potentially bad. In fact, you could probably argue that very few players on genuinely big money actually give full value for the entire duration of the contract. I certainly don’t think this contract was anywhere near as nuts as the Werth one.
Personally I just think there’s much better ways to spend $64 million as a GM, but hey I’m not running any MLB teams at the moment so that’s just my opinion.
I don’t claim any knowledge of how to run a baseball team, but I’m surprised that AA made this move now, with the Jays standing little chance (and having little intention) of contending next year. What I would have done is gone to arbitration and waited things out. If he’s having a repeat year, trade him at the deadline for a good prospect or two, and maybe try to re-sign him as a FA at the end of the season if there is a shot at contention. If not, you’re not on the hook for 64 million over five years, and can get him at a lower rate at the end of the season.
The Jays have pitchers in abundance, but lack the elite positional/hitting talent. That is why Marcum was traded for Lawrie, and why Bautista has been tied down. If Bautista was traded or allowed to walk, then there would be a large hole that wouldn’t have been easy to fill.
What I really like about this move as a Jays fan is AA firmly drawing a line in the sand to say “Okay, we’re gearing up to compete.”
Still, it should take more than one year of carrying a big stick to get that type of deal, Mr. President 😉
the jays have no intention of competing in 2011. Perhaps in 2012 but i don’t see it.
Agreed – no chance of competing this season. But for most of the duration of Bautista’s contract, they should be.
The Jays will be contenders before you can say Jose Bautista
Well if you talk really slow, I suppose.
it takes him 6 months per syllable
Bautista is AA’s guy. He believes he will be the heart of the team for the next five years. He didn’t want to let him go, he has faith in his ability, so tied him up now at the cheapest price. It’s as simple as that.
I’m a little surprised so many people voted against the move in the poll; I guess it reflects an increasing conservatism in baseball. It’s not a back-breaking contract, and aggressive gambling is necessary in any good GM (ref: RAJ from 2009 – 2010)
I think most don’t agree with it in terms of the length. Five seasons of that kind of pay for a guy that’s had one great year, and a fistful of mediocre to downright bad ones, does not make fiscal sense, even if you’re the gambling type.
It was always doubtful that Bautista would settle for three years. Five years or bust, and if the coaches and front office believe in him, then why not? If they feel he can have another strong year next year, then there’s no reason why he shouldn’t remain productive for the full five years.
Length aside, I do think 14 mil/year is a good number for his amount of production in the next few years. I don’t think it stunts the team’s overall payroll that much when you figure the Jays can sustain over 100mm/year.
Right. And y’know, if the Jays fans were told at the start of the year that Wells would be off the books, Bautista would be pinned down for five years, and there would be around $6m surplus on the payroll…I think they’d take it!
My only concerns this season for the Jays is the non-Bautista 3B/RF spot. I don’t think Juan Rivera should be starting in RF or EE should be starting at 3B. Hopefully, Lawrie stomps the minor league competition year and fills the 3B spot full time (or 2B if Hill moves.)
Shame they couldn’t move Wells before Beltre signed.
Rivera is just a makeshift. Lawrie will eventually make his way up, and the Jays can decide which of Bautista or Lawrie will take the 3B slot (and the other the OF spot). Not really a problem in a rebuilding year, so it will be a bonus to see what Bautista can do at 3B. EE will be starting as DH, but will put in some 1B time too – no bad thing given that he won’t have to throw the ball.
i thought the same thing at first. surprised that so many ppl voted against this deal. however then i think about the wording of the yes and it is a little misleading. as well enough of those ppl do not watch and follow the jays so they have a clouded impression on the guy. funny thing is ppl dont talk about his versatility from third and right (also can play first if need be) if i recall correctly he was second in OF assists last year with only two thirds of the season played out there. dude is a stand up guy, hasnt been in the news for the wrong reasons, cannon for an arm, and amazing plate discipline. don’t fret, after next year ppl will be praising this deal through and through. on that note april 1st is almost here, woohoo!
hes a good player, he maybe dnt get 50’s again, but hes a big leaguer now!!
He kept mentioning Bautista’s “Off Field” benefits. I believe it, and want to think it’s worth the money to have him as a mentor and role model…but it does make me nervous about his on-field expectations. haha.
It’s nice that they got a payroll replacement for Vernon Wells, though.
That was almost a joke.
The deal’s a gamble, but not a bad one. Say he duplicates last season, we’re talking Jayson Werth money. He has a 20/30 hr season then his agent could probably turn it into a 5 yr/$70M+ contract. Of course a bust and we’re thinking more along the lines of 1 yr with incentives and a team option.
I think he’ll probably be worth it.
Should Bautista regress back to a super utility player, or become a liability in some way, the Angels are always willing to take him. So AA has nothing to worry about.
I think it’s also worth considering the Bautista contract with the off-season activity in mind. We know the likes of Crawford didn’t want to play on turf, that Greinke vetoed any possible trade to Toronto immediately, and that the asking prices for the likes of Upton were astronomical.
So if AA got a taste of how tough it would be to trade/FA his way to elite talent, then surely it becomes more understandable why he’d tie down the HR leader and versatile positional player given the option.
I actually don’t mind the length. Bautista will be around for awhile, which is great if he keeps hitting, but they added years instead of dollars, so even if he regresses to the pre-2010 version, he’s not making enough per season to really hurt the team. They’ll be limited, but not crippled. What would have been worse is a shorter deal with a higher AAV; spending money while the Jays aren’t good enough to contend and having Bautista hit FA when their prospects show up doesn’t seem like a good plan.
The big problem is just that making this kind of bet on a player doesn’t seem like a good idea. The Giants have a similar issue with Aaron Rowand; dude had one great season in Philly, signed a 5/60 contract, and now he’s a $12M/year sunk cost. The Jays have made a similar move, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see it bite them in the same way.
Most indications seemed to point to him being a late bloomer, rather than just having a freakishly lucky year. I actually like this deal for the Jays. But only time will tell, of course.
The cubs paid Carlos Pena 10 mil as a free agent a year away from a huge HR season JBau can play 2 defensive positions so even after a bust season one monster year is worth 10 plus his defensive value. This deal offers a discount on Uggla’s recent deal with the Braves. that discount is a reflection of the lack of history that Uggla can offer. Deal is spot on if you ask me
There’s a difference between playing 2 positions well and playing two positions like Dan Uggla
Yeah but Pena has had numerous big seasons…bautista hasnt. There lies the difference. Im an optimistic baseball fan who loves the game and always wants to think the best, but bautista got bigger this year…and you have to be bracing yourself at least a little for a steroid allegation at some point in the near future. Sorry but players dont all of a sudden hit 50 home runs. I might even say the Wells contract made more sense than this based off of his previous great years offensively, his age at the time of the contract, and his gold glove caliber defense before then as well. I just think if they were going to go 5 years, they needed to keep the salary around 10 a year. I think they may really regret this. But…id love to be proven wrong even though im and O’s fan.
Let’s be real about this. The Blue Jays have next to no chance of winning their division, let alone making the playoffs. They’re still in rebuilding mode compared to their division rivals.
If Bautista repeats his 2010 line this year, who cares? With no chance at the playoffs, the team will be spending money on a high risk, 30+ year old guy. Here’s why AA shouldn’t have given an extension:
1. If Bautista hits like his pre 2010 self, the extension looks terrible.
2. If Bautista starts off hitting well, the team could have traded him at the deadline. Plenty of teams would take a hot hitting 3rd baseman.
Sorry, AA, but even if Jose hits like in 2010, it’s a failure.
EDIT: One more point: they’re moving him back to 3B after thriving in his new outfield spot. Not only are they throwing money at him, but they’re messing with success.
On point (1), yes, the extension would look terrible. That’s the risk element. But don’t you think GMs have to take risks once in a while?
On point (2), the Jays can still trade him at the deadline. I believe his salary is $8m this first year, and he was asking for $10m in arb, so they could feasibly trade him at a lower cost than if they’d let him run down his contract.
On point (3), 3B makes a lot of sense. Not just because the Jays are lacking a 3B, but because it gives them flexibility when Brett Lawrie comes up. They can measure the pros and cons of the two, and assign them to 3B/OF knowing they have that versatility. Much better to tinker with this now, in a non-competing season.
1. What’s the point in taking a risk during a stretch when your team has next to no chance of winning anything?
2. His trade value would be higher without a bloated extension to take on.
3. Shifting him between positions is a great idea in theory, but if his shift to RF had to do with his offensive explosion, then moving around is a foolish idea.
1. the jays stand a decent chance of contending during the length of bautista’s contract. top 5 farm system and apparently they are willing to open the checkbook as well. nothing in bautista’s game screams that he cant have good longevity if indeed he has become an elite offensive player.
2. why would the jays trade bautista after just signing him?? no one will take him if he plays poorly, and if he plays well… isnt that exactly what they signed him for??
3. i dont buy the whole position-switch-causes-offensive-explosion theory. he mashed because of mechanical adjustments, an excellent approach at the plate, and an enormous amount of confidence. in any case he did play a fair bit at 3B last year
With the extension, he has no trade value. There is always risk from both sides, but AA insured all of it was on the Team. That makes it a bad deal.
On the open market, what would he have gotten? I bet not 5/65. Well, it’s not my money. And anyways, the Jays like being an average team.
how did he thrive in the outfield? he’s not a good defender either at RF or 3B. Might as well use him where there’s a hole and where he has more trade value
Didn’t Farrell say that the Red Sox viewed Bautista as a premium RF? I don’t know about UZR and all that, but going with my eyes? He looked extremely good out there – aggressive, not short on speed, and a cannon arm with precision accuracy.
Compare and contrast with Lind and Lewis…
even with my eyes i could see him take bad routes to balls, bobble them sometimes, and just flat out too slow to be even an average fielder. His arm is the only thing that plays well in the outfield
Thrive in terms of finally hitting like a star. Perhaps he felt more comfortable at the plate after coming in from RF than from 3B. Also, he had 12 assists…
No long term planning?
The extension is a lose-lose situation, while not handing out the extension is a win-win situation.
Lose: If he hits well, it won’t matter since the team has no chance of winning anything.
Lose: If he hits poorly, they waste a lot of money.
Win: If he hits well, you can trade him for talent.
Win: If he hits poorly, you lose nothing.
Short sighted are we?
You expect Bautista to be hitting well 2+ years from now? He’s already 30.
Yeah because 32 year olds are over the hill right?
OMG 30!?!? lmao Get the man a cane for goodness sake!
If I had 64 million dollars, I’d by a house in Beverly Hills.
I’d buy both of the Hills on Beverly.
More then tripled his career high in HRs makes him a big money player? I’d have saved it and used it on a more established player. Trade him to find a decent 3B prospect and another part.
Toronto must see a more consistent player then I have
if you see him as a fluke, why would any other gms think so otherwise?
Your right they do, and have you heard of Brett Lawrie?
Trade hm for a decent 3rd base prospect? They actually already trade Marcum for a decent 3rd base prospect. What’s that you say? Lawrie is a 2nd base/outfield prospect? Fine. Shift Hill to 3rd, Lawrie plays second and Bautista moves back to the outfield. Oh wait, you think Lawrie sucks you say? Fine, Hechavaria is still in the picture to do the same things listed above. Any way you slice this deal, it gives the Jays plenty of flexability moving forward because a) he can play multiple positions, b) even if there is some regression to a 30 hr guy, he is still well worth the contract considering what would be available out there for him.
I dont see how this is bad for the Jays unless he turns into a 15 hr 60 rbi player. And if you think its very unlikely he hits anywhere near 50 hr again, I pledge that it is just as unlikely he reverts to a 15 hr guy. I would say it is even more unlikely actually.
Jays used Uggla as a comparison so you can tell what they expect from Bautista from this deal. They are not paying him to repeat 2010.
If they paid him like he was going to hit like 2010 for the length of the contract you would be looking at 7 years/140 million as a starting point. 14 million a year isn’t that much money when you compare him to other players making that much or more: Torii Hunter: 18 mil, Carlos Lee: 18.5 mil, Alfonso Soriano: 18 mil, Kosuke Fukudome: 13.5 mil, Aaron Rowand: 12 mil, Milton Bradley: 12 mil, Carlos Beltran: 16 mil, Jason Bay: 16 mil, JD Drew: 14 mil, Michael Cuddyer 10.5 mil
I would take Bautista @ 14 million over any of those OFers at there 2011 salary.
You would take the 2010 Bautista over these but pre 2010 utiltyman Bautista isnt even close the players you mentioned! Answer this question! Name one player who’s tripled his hr total since 2003 or even come close (please dont find a guy who went from 5-15 please) or find a utilty guy who made the all-star team!
Utility player to make the All-Star Team: Omar Infante (2010)
Player to significantly increase HR total: Aaron Hill (2009)
Neither of these have anything to do with the fact that I was stating Bautista doesn’t need to hit 50+ HR to back a 14 milllion a year contract. He could hit 25-30 over the next 5 seasons and be worth the contract.
Can’t argue when you answered the question but hopefully for Jays fans he doesn’t regress like Aaron Hill did in 2010!
Hill hit 26 HRs with a .196 BABIP, so I think he will bounce back in 2011. I don’t think he will hit 36 again, but should be good for a .280 average and 20-30 HRs.
Looking back on this, you must admit how smart you were to make this comment.
$14 Mill a season isn’t a salary for a player that hits 50+ homers a year, so if Jose keeps that pace, this deal will be a steal compared to what other HR hitters will get next off season.
But Jose provides more than just the long ball. He’s got a cannon for an arm that makes him an asset at Third or Right Field. He’s also been a strong leader on and off the field and as an ambassador to latino players with language issues. Escobar’s revival and success in Toronto is partly credit to Bautista being there to bridge the gap between management and player and also providing a good mentor for the young player to work with. An asset that will be taken full advantage of when a certain Cuban phoenom the Jays paid a lot for finally rises from the minors to join the big club.
When you combine all that, this is a great deal for Toronto. This signing also tells future free agents that Toronto is willing to spend and not afraid to open their wallet when the price is right. This is not a Wells type contract. When this is over, I have no doubt Jays fans will be satisfied with Jose’s efforts both on and off the field.
The only players outside of the Babe to maintain a 50 hr pace were roid guys so either hes on peds or hes never gonna have a season like 2010 again! The only steal here is the contract he got from the Jays! If it walks like a duck, looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, ITS A DUCK! Bautista is an enhanced duck imo!
Would you prefer to pay A-Rod double Jose’s contract to hit less homers? I’m willing to bet that Bautista hits more HR than A-Rod again this year. If he does, that’s a steal for the Jays since they are only paying half of what the Yankees are shelling out for their best player.
Comparing a bad contract to a terrible one doesn’t take away that its still a bad contract. Maybe Bautista is the exception but the roid era makes me very skeptical!
And who would know better? Ramirez/Ortiz anyone? The ‘roid era is over. Let’s move on please.
The ped use was leaguewide first and second, if you think athletes in all sports stopped taking roids cuz of testing you’re crazy! Science, like Balco used, is always one step ahead of these tests and Hgh, while not as potent as steroids, still makes one a better athlete! I honestly feel a little guilty accusing Bautista but guys like Brady Anderson, Luis Gonzalez, and others screwed everyone who has a breakout year like Bautista did!
LOL… Thats funny. But allow me to retorte. IF, the RedSox picked him up via trade as was rumored and confirmed by Farrell, he would be the second coming of the Babe to every Sox fan in existance. Stop with all of the bulls__t. As much as some of us Jays fans believe he is going to be worth it due to seeing him everyday, the non Jays on here are absolutly rediculous with the PED comments, and he can’t really be that good, can he? The point is last year was probably a best case scenario in considering the 54 hr, but, even if he goes on to become a consistent 30/100 guy with a good obp and obps, 14 million is a steal of a contract.
You’ve called it so far.
You guys are missing the point! Bautista is signed to an extension just not for his play from last year but for leadership for a young team. Especially, since the blue jays are big spenders on international free agents, it will help there caused in the long-run. We all know the Blue Jays are not going to make the playoffs next year but this signing just shows they are committed and track to competing in a few years to all the fans.
There are a lot of intangibles that this deal also brings for the jays organization.The biggest positive one i can think off the top of my head is:motvation for younger players, that if you perform at a high level you will be rewarded and treated fairily.My list is limited so feel free to add pos/neg aspects of this deal that cant be measured or viewed as a statistic. It’ll give a deeper sense to how the dynamics of the organization stands.
In Hindsight this deal could turn out to be an absolute steal compared to market value, at the same time it could be another Rios. Either way Rogers can afford to pay it (and much more for that matter) so I’m not too concerned with the numbers in this deal.