Like the other seven major league teams currently in the postseason, the Blue Jays are trying to fight their way to a World Series title. But regardless of whether Toronto’s season ends with a championship, the club will have decisions to make on two franchise icons in the coming weeks. As soon-to-be free agents, designated hitter/first baseman Edwin Encarnacion and right fielder/DH Jose Bautista could depart Canada after the season. If the Blue Jays aren’t able to strike new deals with either, the team could receive a first-round pick as compensation for each if it tenders them one-year, $16.7MM qualifying offers (assuming the QO system remains in place).
Encarnacion is a shoo-in to land an offer, but Bautista’s case looks somewhat less certain than it did coming into the season. At that point, Bautista was fresh off six straight excellent campaigns dating back to his stunning breakout in 2010. Between then and 2015, Bautista combined to slash a superb .268/.390/.555 in 3,604 plate appearances. Along the way, he accounted for 32.5 fWAR – the majors’ fifth-highest total among position players – walked almost as much as he struck out (15.9 percent to 16.0 percent), hit 28 more home runs (227) than his nearest competitor, Miguel Cabrera, and posted a .287 ISO. That elite-level performance reportedly had Bautista in search of a massive contract last winter, but a decline in output has likely hurt his earning power since.
Bautista was on the disabled list twice during the regular season, and in the 116 games he did play, he wasn’t the all-world offensive threat he had been during the previous six years. By no means was Bautista’s production at the plate subpar, however, as he still batted a more-than-respectable .234/.366/.452 with 22 homers and a .217 ISO in 517 PAs. He also continued controlling the strike zone, albeit not as well as he did in prior seasons, with 87 walks against 103 strikeouts. With his below-average defense and baserunning factored in, Bautista was worth just 1.5 fWAR this year – his lowest total since 2008, when he was toiling in anonymity.
Bautista’s down season would be less alarming if he weren’t about to turn 36, which could scare off the Blue Jays or other teams when the time comes to hand him a lucrative multiyear contract. Not only that, but Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe suggested Sunday that Toronto might not issue Bautista a qualifying offer because of fear that he could accept it. In response, MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk argued that, given Bautista’s track record, the Jays would welcome him back for 2017 at a $16.7MM price tag. He also pointed out that Bautista is in the midst of another quality playoff showing, having already smashed three homers this postseason for a club that could advance to its second straight ALCS tonight.
I’m in the same camp as Mark regarding Bautista, but what do you think?
Bautista was still 17% better than league average and logged a .366 obp, I would think Toronto wouldn’t pass up the chance to offer him at least a QO, they’d surely love to have him back even if he accepts.
This shouldn’t even be a question. Definitely worth it
Bautista will get a QA, it’s only for one year and it’s a win, win for the Jays.
Yeah, QO. He will definitely not accept. He’s gone. We all need to get over it. It doesn’t matter what we offer, someone will better it somewhere out there. This is his last chance for a massive payday and he will take it. I’m thinking 5 years and $25 per, and he’ll retire the last two years of that deal, but he’ll have the contract structured so he gets paid anyway. Encarnacion is the same. I almost think it might just be worth offering him a QO. I doubt he would accept any offer we would put out there. Larger market US teams are going to offer some monstrous, ridiculous Vernon Wells-esque boat anchor of a contract through to his 45th year or some such nonsense and he would be a fool to not accept it.
Is it considered ‘insider trading’ to float your maximum number out there for him ahead of the QO deadline, on the sly and ask if he has any interest before you offer a QO? Ha!
He’s under contract with the Jays, they are free to negotiate with him at any time.
Imo he’ll consider it a slap in the face for not being offered a contract and decline which will cause the jays a draft pick.
Braves2015 you make zero sense. First the QO comes quickly after the season and it is not a slap in the face nor will any player being offered one consider it a slap in the face nor does it prevent that team from making a long term offer after nor does it stop the player from negotiating a long term deal after a QO.
Next once the team makes a QO and the player declines one they team is granted a draft pick. Thus your claim that he will be insulted and decline it and cost the team a pick makes no sense in any shape or form
My bad i had that backwards. But i think bautistas ego is so big he thinks he needs a huge contract.
Why will his ego determine whether he accepts or rejects a QO? He has one, but how likely is it that no team will offer him more than $16.7mm on a one-year deal? Pretty low, in which case, ego or not, why would he consider taking the QO?
Dookie Howser, MD
I guess if there aren’t any deals out there with enough money/years, he could sign the QO to rebuild his value? I don’t think that’s too likely, though because:
1) The biggest detriment to his value is his age, which will not get better with another year of seasoning
2) He won’t know the actual market until after he decides to sign/reject the QO
3) If he were willing to play on a one year deal, he could probably get more than $16.7, even with the QO attached to his name
Because in his head he is better than that and deserves more
You’re ignoring the high probability that he’ll get more than the QO. His ego is moot because he wouldn’t and shouldn’t take it even if he had none.
If he declined the QO the Jays do get a pick.
Bautista is one year removed from a 40 HR, 5.1 WAR year. At the very least, he definitely deserves a 1 year, $16.7MM deal.
Worth that just for how he plays in the postseason lol
Unless they are sold Bautista will hold out no way. They would be better up to free up the salary and go get a younger player or a starting pitcher.
What do you mean hold out? This isn’t the NFL.
Why would Toronto need a starting pitcher? Unless it’s AAA depth no thank you
Starting pitcher upgrade for the best starting pitching in the MLB… if anything the jays need to upgrade their offense after the way this season went
Best starting pitching to n the MLB? Guess that beer bottle from the upper deck must have hit you in the head.
Dookie Howser, MD
I thought this argument carried no weight, then I looked. Toronto Starters were:
#1 in Runs allowed/game (4.11)
#1 in Quality Starts (100)
#1 Average Game score (54)
#1 Innings pitched per start (6.1)
Would I take them in a playoff series over other rotations? No, but there is at least an argument for having solid 1-5 depth during the regular season there.
How does tossing an insult improve the quality of your opinion?
Anyone on the planet should be sold that he would “hold out”. You honestly think Bautista would accept a QO? Not a chance in hell.
Bautista doesn’t deserve a 100m deal
Agreed. 3 years/60M is fair. Maybe a bit more in recognition of past contributions and loyalty
Loyalty? When he signed his about to expire contract, it drew a fair amount of criticism. He out-performed it by far, but it’s not like he took a meaningful discount except in hindsight.
No such thing as a bad one year offer.
Hi, I’d like to introduce you to Manny Ramirez’s 2011 contract with Tampa.
What was bad about that? The Rays never had to pay it.
Bats’ ego will not allow him to sign a QO offer if today was his last game.
The Jays should throw a QO offer at him and receive the pick. At worst, they have a $16M 30+ HR 100RBI .350+ OBP RHH in the middle of their lineup. Things could be worst like watching him walk w/zero return.
In no way should the Jays sign him to an extension. T
Lmao how is this even a question?
I’m with you. Look at money league average players get in free agency. Unless I hear it from Toronto’s front office myself, there is no way I believe they are even considering not offering the QO.
Agreed. Not sure how Cafardo can speculate that the Blue Jays would be afraid of Bautista accepting, and not sure how 20% of people agree. Even in a “down” year, his worst since 2009, he was a well-above average hitter worth $13 million per Fangraphs. No chance he accepts a QO
A QO is a no brainer for Bautista. His season this year was impacted by a couple of injuries. If we takes it (unlikely) you have a great DH for 16 million.. If not, you get a pick. Win-Win
I agree with 22222pete ad he said it very well regarding the point of why they will make a QO
Considering that Atkins and Shapiro are already, or at least have been, on shaky ground with the fans(as unwarranted as that may be), their is zero chance they allow a playoff hero to walk for absolutely nothing. The Jays have an influx of cash coming which means they can easily take on the QO, which by all accounts is less than what Bautista will be seeking in FA anyways. I’d actually prefer having Bautista(or any other late 30’s superstar) on one or two year deals at that stage of their careers, even if it means a higher dollar value with it.
“Playoff hero,” really?
For the Jays and their fans, he is. The HR last year has been the most played Jays highlight since Carter’s HR in 93. Add in the fact he’s tied with Carter for post season HR and tied with Tulo for 2nd behind Carter for post season RBI, yes, he’s a playoff hero.
His HR is replayed so often because of the bat flip and the controversy it generated, not because of its heroic value.
Why does it have to be either/or?
100% they issue a QO. If he takes it, great you get Bautista for another year in the most scary lineup. If he doesn’t take it oh well he’s already 36 and they have tons of other big bats and you get a 1st round pick. You can’t just let him walk. Jays have no problem paying Joey Batts with his great track record before this year 16.7m over 1 year to show if he is still a legitimate hitter. No brainer for Jays
Doesn’t matter what the deserves, it’s what the open market will pay. I imagine Bats would love it if the Blue Jays didn’t make a QO. I think the smart play he to make him a QO.
Yes, QO hands down.
Just Another Fan
No brainer, they have to do this. Bautista at 17 mill or whatever is a bargain, but the Jays getting another 1st round pick would also be really beneficial.
If the CBA still has a QO line item included in the new agreement, the Jays will definitely offer Bautista a QO.
Need to hire a experienced manager who knows how to handle a bullpen.
You are mistaken. Showalter doesn’t manage the Jays.
is this a real question? he’s already making that much anyways and if the jays were to extend him they would want him on a 2-3 year term so to have him accept would be fantastic. no long term risk and the short term risk is negated by the upside he can still provide. also consider that the jays basically got upton for free since the padres decided to pay 99.99% of his salary and what you have is money saved in the upton deal who can fill in for bautista in the field. bautista accepting the QO would not impact anything, he’d just be getting a very slight raise to his current salary so it wouldnt affect payroll. if budget is an issue, just let saunders walk and use that money instead. between offering 16.7 to saunders or 16.7 to bautista, the choice is very simple and i’d be more worried about them qualifying saunders.
the issue at hand isn’t whether or not bautista should get a QO, it’s actually whether or not we should continue to allow the roughly 20% of readers the right to vote.
A QO to Bautista is a no brainer. 17M for likely 30 bombs and 100 RBI is good value. Keep him heathy by having him DH and maybe transition to a bit of 1b and he’s probably a lock for those numbers. 3 years 60M is also probably reasonable. It does reward him for some past contributions but he is a team leader, like it or not, and I think he is looking for that recognition. But if he does walk, retaining EE becomes even more important. And he’s not just a DH. He has played a respectable 1b when asked. The Jays are likely to be contenders in 2017 and they cannot afford to lose both. There aren’t many FA’s that can replace that kind of production although Reddick could be a solution if Joey Bats walks. A trade for Votto could work but he has a terrible contract and we already have one of those with Tulo. It will be interesting to see what Bautusta can get on the open market but I think 3 years/60M with a 4th year option, perhaps a tich more or a signing bonus could keep both Bautista and EE in Toronto, especially if they are a WS team. They have a chance to play October ball for the next 2-3 years if they stay. No way does Saunders get a QO. He’s had one good year and 17M for 2 years is more like it. Upton can replace him quite easily for nothing in 2017. And E. Cabrerra can handle RF half the time or more.
One of the biggest no-brainers in a long time. Of course you give him the QO. If the team tanks prior to the July deadline, now you have a slugging trade asset (assuming he is healthy and still productive).
If the Jays can’t retain EE, might as well let Bautista walk too. Jays could go 80M/4 years on EE and as high as 3/75 for Bautista perhaps deferring some of that and promise him a job in the organization after his playing days are over. I believe both want to stay in Toronto and might be willing to give a small home town discount. Can’t let EE go to Boston and become “Little Papi”.
You make him the QO if you are unable to reach an agreement, though (3/75 or otherwise). I mean, you can’t just let him walk and get nothing back in return.
I almost think it would just be worth offering Edwin a QO too. At least we would get something out of it. I can just see Rogers offering something competitive and slightly over and then Boston blowing the doors off with some outlandish “40 years and $40M per season!” Or something equally as ridiculous and record-setting. I just think there’s no way on this earth that Rogers would compete with something like that, even if they can afford to.
I doubt Boston offers much more than 20M per season. Just not justifiable for pretty much a DH although Hanley and EE could split time at 1b. EE most certainly gets a QO. And he is on record as absolutely wanting to stay in TO. The Jays led the league in attendance this year and almost certainly made money despite the poor CAN/US$ exchange rate. They already have the extra gate dollars for 2 home playoff games and are guaranteed at least 2 more in the ALCS. There were a lot of pissed off fans when the Jays apparently didn’t even try to resign Price last year. But that’s fine. He sucks in the playoffs and not worth 32M/yr. EE is one of the biggest and most popular professional athletes in Toronto these days. Maybe even more so than Bautista. Fans will go bat shit crazy if they don’t resign EE. But you are correct, if someone offers him 30M a season (highly unlikely he’s not Trout) they won’t match that. But I hope they will go as high as 25M. He will play half his games at 1b if he stays so it’s a little bit more justified than if he was strictly a DH. Votto makes 25M a year and EE has outperformed him over the past 3 years and likely the next 3. As a Jays fan I will still support the team but will be very unhappy if they don’t retain him. Bautista can walk if he’s unreasonable.
EE is getting a QO no matter what. Don’t worry about that. He’s a lock for one.
Yes, that’s ez pz lemon squeezy
Do you guys actually believe that either one of those guys is going to sign a one year $16 million deal at their ages? The Yankees would give either of them a one year $25 -30 million deal, and I think EE is pretty much a Red Sox already, if they will grossly overpay (which they will). Why Toronto would not offer a qualifying offer to both of them is beyond me, I would be shocked if they didn’t offer one to both (and they will decline) as far as money goes Toronto has plenty. The question is will they spend it, just my opinion of course
This is a close one, could go either way. If Jays offer, he is likely to accept as he may not make as much (annual salary) in any new contract. He might prefer one year QO, and try to play well for big two or three year deal at end of next year. Deep down I am not sure the Jays really want him back, but they would like the draft pick compensation, so it will likely be an agonizing decision for management. Will be interesting to see how it plays out.
As much as I wouldn’t give it to him, he will have multiple multi year deals with AAV north of $20 million per, he’s not accepting a one year deal with the team that he already feels has slighted him