According to Enrique Rojas of ESPN the Toronto Blue Jays and Jose Bautista have asked that today’s arbitration hearing be postponed until Friday so that the two parties can work on a long-term deal.
The news comes after Bautista’s agent Bean Stringfellow, warned the Blue Jays late last week that if the team didn’t agree on a multi-year deal with his client before the arbitration hearing, like Albert Pujols, he would be unwilling to negotiate until the very end of the season.
Bautista was seeking $10.5 million through arbitration, while the team filed for $7.6 million.
By ridding themselves of the Vernon Wells contract and the Alex Rios burden before that, the Blue Jays are actually in a place financially where signing Bautista to a multi-year deal before he further proves himself isn’t necessary. The only reason the team has to sign him right now to multiple years would be to cash in on the discount that won’t be available if he manages to repeat last season. With their new found financial freedom the Blue Jays no longer need a risky discount. The team can afford to take a laissez-faire approach with Bautista for the coming season and then decide, based on his performance, as well the younger players currently in the Jays system, whether or not he’s an integral part of the team.
From Alex Anthopoulos:
Our arbitration hearing with Jose Bautista has been postponed to allow further negotiation between the player and the club. As it is the Blue Jays policy not to discuss contract negotiations, I will not be making any further comments regarding Jose Bautista until an agreement is reached or the conclusion of the arbitration process.