Jose Bautista will remain with the Toronto Blue Jays. The veteran slugger has agreed to a one-year contract for $18 million with the team that includes mutual options for additional years, said one person close to the just completed negotiations.
It was also reported that Bautista passed his physical late Tuesday night which was the only thing pending in finalizing the deal.
This deal contains an option for an additional year with a buyout as well. It could go as long as three years if Bautista plays a specific number of games or more during the first two years of the contract.
Bautista, who is 36, hit 22 home runs and knocked in 69 runs in 2016 while hitting just .234 in a season where he was plagued with injuries.
A fan favorite during his career with the Blue Jays, Bautista is second behind just Carlos Delgado in career home runs with the team at 265. Delgado ended his career with 336 for the Blue Jays.
After Toronto ended a playoff drought of 22 years with their title in the American League East in 2015, the slugger for Toronto hit a memorable home run during Game 5 against Texas in the AL Division Series. He punctuated the home run with a bat flip.
During the early part of this offseason, Bautista rejected the $17.2 million offer by the club for a contract of one-year and instead opted to try the free agent market.
The market for Bautista did not materialize the way he hoped it would. Last year, Bautista asked new management at Toronto for a new contract that was believed to be $150 million or even higher.
However, he suffered through his worst ever season with Toronto prior to opting to be a free agent. Other ball clubs would have had to give up a high draft pick if they had signed Bautista.
His age as well as a high number of power hitters in the free agent market hurt the veteran’s marketability.
Yet the failure of the Blue Jays earlier during the offseason to retain Edwin Encarnacion was unpopular in the city, which last season lead the league in attendance.
The slugger signed a deal worth $60 million for three years with Cleveland after an $80 million deal for four years was quickly withdrawn by the Blue Jays.