Jose Bautista could soon find himself back in Toronto.
The free-agent right fielder is nearing a deal that would bring him back to the Blue Jays, according to multiple reports.
MLB.com first reported the details of the contract that are still being negotiated, and a physical is pending. While the club has yet to comment, a deal is expected to be finalized soon.
Bautista, 36, rejected in November a one-year qualifying offer from the Jays worth $17.2 million but hasn’t found many suitors since, in part because of his high asking price and the deep power-hitting market. However, the Blue Jays are eager to retain the franchise icon, especially after losing first baseman Edwin Encarnacion.
Bautista, who has hit above .300 only once in his career, played in only 116 games in the final year of a six-year, $78 million contract with the Blue Jays. He hit .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBIs.
When you look at the initial haul of GM John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan, it isn’t all that splashy. But this group is building a foundation for finding that franchise QB, and molding offensive personnel similar to what Shanny had in Atlanta. Garcon is the Mohamed Sanu-like No. 2, Goodwin is the speedy Taylor Gabriel-like cog, Juszczyk is the sneaky swingman, a la Patrick DiMarco, and Hoyer is the Matt Schaub, a pure backup well-versed in the system.
With Kirk Cousins now likely off the table and Jimmy Garoppolo looking like a very difficult trade target, the focus will be figuring out the right franchise passer to draft and pairing him with Cheap Euro Jerseys a young No. 1-type wideout. The latter still could come in free agency, in the form of Terrelle Pryor.