Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista indicated that he’s very open to holding contract talks before reaching free agency after the season, as Gregory Strong of the Canadian Press reports. Bautista said it would be an honor to end his career in Toronto, though obviously there’s a long way to go to make that happen. He noted that he had recently sat down with new club president Mark Shapiro and GM Ross Atkins, but also suggested that true negotiations haven’t occurred. “I have to have something to consider at some point if I’m going to make that decision, which hasn’t happened yet,” said Bautista. “So I’m going to continue to go about my business just like any other year and any other day because I don’t really have a decision to make right now.”
Here’s more out of the AL East, including a few other notable possible extension scenarios — a topic that Steve Adams and I tackled on today’s MLBTR Podcast.
- Shapiro and Atkins are addressing their fanbase as we speak, and quotes continue to be reported. Josh Donaldson’s contract situation came up, as it appears he’s headed for a second arb hearing unless a multi-year agreement can be reached. (The club employs a file-and-trial approach.) Atkins indicated that there is real interest in a multi-year scenario, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports (Twitter links), though it could well be an arb-only agreement. Nevertheless, the newly-minted general manager suggested that something more could at least be contemplated. “We want him here as long as humanly possible,” he said.
- The team seemingly already went to an arb hearing with righty Jesse Chavez, Nicholson-Smith tweets. There’s only a $400K difference between the sides’ filings — $4MM vs. $3.6MM — so there isn’t a ton of money at stake. It’s certainly possible that both preferred to take their chances to bridging the gap. Either way, Chavez will fall shy of his $4.7MM projection.
- Meanwhile, Shapiro says that it’s unlikely the team will make another major move before hitting camp, as Nicholson-Smith tweets. But the team has had “substantive conversations as recently as just a few days ago,” per Shapiro.
- We’ve heard a lot of back-and-forth on the Orioles’ interest in signing free agent righty Yovani Gallardo — and giving up the 14th overall pick — and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says that the O’s are still monitoring things. If Gallardo’s asking price falls far enough, the team could be willing to punt the pick.
- The Red Sox don’t have much reason to pursue an extension with blooming star Mookie Betts, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal argues. Boston already has five years of control over Betts, isn’t really in need of cost certainty, and may prefer to avoid shifting forward salary for purposes of luxury tax calculations.