Bautista tells Blue Jays he’s worth the big ticket

Slugger reportedly seeking largest contract ever for a Blue Jay

Jose Bautista sure knows how to make an entrance at spring training.

The Toronto Blue Jays slugger reportedly asked for a new contract worth either $150 million over five years or $164 million over six years.

He’s denied those numbers but also refuses to correct them, saying he’s presented his case and now it’s up to the Jays to take it or leave it.

If his asking price is even close to what’s reported, his contract would be the largest ever given out by any of the Toronto sports franchises.

5 largest contracts ever given out by Toronto sports franchises

  • Blue Jays: Vernon Wells
    7 years, $126 million in 2006
  • Blue Jays: Russell Martin
    5 years, $82 million in 2014
  • Maple Leafs: Phil Kessel
    8 years, $64 million in 2014
  • Raptors: DeMarre Carroll
    4 years, $60 million in 2015
  • Maple Leafs: Dion Phaneuf
    7 years, $49 million in 2013

Source: www.spotrac.com

Bautista certainly thinks he’s worth it.

“I don’t think this should be a negotiation. I think I’ve proven myself,” he told reporters. “I know what my value is. Baseball has a great way of measuring each player’s value and it’s about how much of that are they willing to share with the player.”

Jays GM Ross Atkins refused to get into a war of words with his star outfielder.

“All of my interactions with Jose have been incredible,” Atkins said during a press conference. “I love being around the guy. I love talking baseball with him … but in relation to the negotiations, out of respect for him, out of respect for the Blue Jays organization, we just can’t get into the specifics of it.”

Bautista has clearly proven himself. But do the Jays want to pay for what he’s already done rather than what he’ll likely do moving forward?

At age 35, he seems to be in good health. However, there are very few players in baseball history who have gotten better or even maintained their past production into their late thirties.

5 players throughout MLB history who enjoyed their best statistical seasons later in their careers

  • Babe Ruth (Retired 1935):
    • The Great Bambino. Arguably the best baseball player of all time, Ruth hit over 40 home runs seven times in his thirties. He also drank like a fish and smoked like a chimney. If Bautista could pull off all three he might be worth the $150 million plus.
  • Ted Williams (Retired 1960):
    • At age 38, Williams finished second in MVP voting and had a .388 batting average, the second highest of his career. It should be noted that he also left the game for three years to serve in World War Two, which might have helped extend his playing career.
  • Willie Mays (Retired 1973):
    • The Hall of Famer played 22 years in the majors. His best offensive season came at age 34 when he hit 52 home runs and had a .398 on base percentage (OBP). He averaged just 24 home runs and a .365 OBP over the next five years.
  • Hank Aaron (Retired 1976):
    • The former home run king hit 40 or more  three times between the age of 35 and 39. His 755 career home runs was the benchmark until 2007 when Barry Bonds broke his record.
  • Barry Bonds (Retired 2007):
    • He’s the only modern-day player on this list.  He broke the single season home run record   at the age of 36 and was productive into his    early 40s. Bonds was accused of using steroids heavily throughout the second half of his career. He was eventually charged, then successfully had the charges repealed. Steroid testing in baseball has been dramatically increased since Bonds retired.
  • Honourable modern-day mentions go to Mark McGuire and Rafael Palmeiro, both are also widely suspected of steroid use.

Source: www.baseball-reference.com