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Jose Bautista might finally have a home soon, and it’s the same one he’s known for years: the one that made him the Bautista we all know today. The Blue Jays are reportedly "nearing a deal" with the man they gave a qualifying offer to back in November.
While there is no word on the details, we can probably guess based on previous reports: Toronto supposedly only waited Bautista back if they didn’t think he was signing elsewhere, because they preferred the compensation draft pick he’d bring back for them if he left to another year of him. At the end of 2016, they hadn’t yet made an offer larger than the $17.2 million qualifier to Bautista — we’re probably looking at him getting something similar to that today, possibly with an option, in order for the slugger to prove 2016 was a fluke.
The Orioles and the Indians — the latter of which already signed former Jays star Edwin Encarnacion — made recent contact with Bautista. However, apparently it wasn’t anything that was going to approach a deal — if they had moved on him to that degree, the Jays probably wouldn’t be the frontrunners given the above. If Bautista can get through 2017 healthy and with a more Bautistian season than his good, not great 2016, we might see more of a rush on him next winter, even though he’ll be headed for his age-37 campaign.
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