On January 18, 2017, José Bautista officially re-signed with the Toronto Blue Jays.
José Bautista is our generations version of Robbie Alomar. The guy who you can always count on for clutch-ness, and attitude. The Toronto Blue Jays home run king. The guy who shows his emotions and bat flip forms, and isn’t afraid to say what he feels. José Bautista will forever be a legend in Toronto.
Honestly, I didn’t think he would come back. Nearing the second week of January, I realized that if the Jays were going to bring him back, they would have done so already… but than a miracle happened.
AND I WENT CRAZY.
Immediately I flipped out, and had some fun late night discussions with my favourite Jays tweeters and bloggers. The feeling reminded me of those similar to when we would all have fun live tweeting Jays games every night, or freaking out during the trade deadline.
Many other reliable sources started to bring confirm the tweet shown above, including Jon Heyman, Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal.
But look at the date on that tweet. January 15. And now it is January 18 and he has been officially signed. The Jays seemed to want to figure out many different options for his contract and I should have assumed that it would have taken them a while to come to a complete deal. Although someone did manage to confirm it all on his own…
Then, a tweet came out mentioning the still very real possibility of him either going to the Tampa Bay Rays or the Cleveland Indians.
And it led many of us to feel like this.
Finally, on January 18 the discussions had come to an end, and the Jays finally figured out the deal and confirmed it on twitter.
The offer seems to be $18 million for 2017, a mutual option for 2018 of $17 million ($500K buyout) and a vesting option for 2019 of $20 million. To translate, this year he will be a Blue Jay, next season if BOTH Bautista and the Jays agree for him to come back he will (mutual options are very un-likely to happen), and if he meets certain requirements during the ’17 and ’18 season, he can come back if again both the Jays and Bautista are in agreement. We are not 100% sure what these vesting requirements are, but I have heard from multiple reliable sources that he would have to play 300 games throughout both seasons (technically 150 games/season) and healthy (not many trips to the DL like the 2016 season). More details from this contract will be released over the next few days if details have been left out.
I know multiple people among my own family and friends who didn’t want him back. “A problem in the clubhouse” they said, “damaged goods” others said. There were also many people on Twitter and around MLB that didn’t want him back with the Jays. But, you know who did want him back? The majority of his former team mates. Those are the opinions that matter, not the media or fans.
I am one of the fans that wanted him back. Even though most of us would have rather had Edwin Encarnacion, I am extremely happy with Bautista. In my mind, if Bautista would have left, I would have been so incredibly heartbroken, and I wasn’t really feeling like that when Edwin left.
You have to realize that when we have kids or young family members in the future who weren’t fortunate enough to see the 2015-2016 Toronto Blue Jays play, the first name we will mention to them is José Bautista. Not Encarnacion, Stroman or Pillar, maybe not even Josh Donaldson. It will be Bautista. Bautista will be the face of the Jays long after he retires. We will always remember the Bat Flip and where we were when it happened. It will forever be a part of Toronto Blue Jays history and so will José Bautista.
P.S. Remember this?