Jose Bautista isn’t playing with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2018

Jose Bautista isn’t playing with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2018

For many baseball fans, and for Toronto Blue Jays fans in particular, Jose Bautista is the face of the franchise. He was signed to the Jays in 2008 and has been a staple and foundational player both on the field and off of it. So, it was heartbreaking, but not completely unexpected, to learn that the Jays won’t be picking up Bautista’s option.

Goodbye Bautista

Jose Bautista joined the Blue Jays franchise in 2008. He was traded from the Pittsburgh Pirates and played his first full season with the Jays in 2009. Over the past eight years, he has become one of the bedrock players for the Jays, and fans love him. However, baseball is a business, and sentiment can’t be afforded when making business decisions. Bautista will be turning 37 later this month, and his contract is worth $17 million. The price is too high for an older player who couldn’t bring the rain this season. The Jays are looking to get in some younger (and cheaper) players to help them rebuild.

Where will Bautista go?

At the moment it’s uncertain where Bautista will play next year. He has stated that he has every intention of continuing to play. At the end of this season he’ll be on the open market, so he could end up playing anywhere. There are some questions about where he’ll fit in with a team because he’s older, and his batting average this past year wasn’t great. He also had 170 strikeouts, which is a Jays record.

Always a Blue Jay

Wherever Bautista goes next, he told that he’d like to finish his career as a Blue Jay. The Jays haven’t ruled that out either. The club has said that he’ll be honored and celebrated, but whether that’s him coming back to play at some point, or having a special celebratory event, or both, no one quite knows as of yet.

To the fans of the Toronto Blue Jays, Jose Bautista will always be one of them. While there isn’t any sentiment in the business of baseball, there certainly is in the sport itself. He’s a favorite and he’s done a lot for the team and for the city that he’s come to call home. He’ll always be welcomed in Toronto with open arms, and he’ll always be remembered for that game five bat flip.

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