After what seemed to be an inevitable breakup, the Toronto Blue Jays and outfielder Jose Bautista are reportedly active in contract discussions, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network.
Bautista, 36, has been with Toronto since 2008 where his career officially jump-started. After being nothing more than a mediocre power bat, Bautista came out of nowhere in 2010, smoking 54 home runs and driving in 124 runs. It was a career-high in home runs and runs batted in for Bautista by a healthy margin as he made his first all star team, a trend that continued the next five years.
Last year, though, produced lows for Bautista since his breakout year in Toronto, hitting only 22 home runs with just a .234 average while also missing time for injury.
As the offseason approached, it was almost a given it seemed that Bautista and teammate Edwin Encarnacion would move on from the Jays. Encarnacion signed with the Cleveland Indians last week, but Bautista's age and potential decline have limited his market. It was rumored last week though, that Joey Bats would accept a one year deal which opened up his market a solid amount.
Toronto was able to replace with Encarnacion with Kendrys Morales, but so far there hasn't been a replacement for Bautista, with Ezeqiuel Carrera the projected right fielder as of right now. Carrera is a fine fourth outfielder, but is nowhere near as productive at the plate as Bautista is.
While a reunion with Encarnacion didn't seem sensible for either party, the contrary is true with Bautista. The powerful outfielder is a fan favorite in Toronto, and clearly the market for him isn't popping. Toronto most likely won't be able to get a better player without having to either overpay or trade prospects. It may not happen right away, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Bautista back north of the border come the 2017 season.null