Bautista not budging on contract demands

Jose Bautista has told the Toronto Blue Jays what it will take to keep him and has made it clear that he is “not willing to negotiate”.

Bautista, who is entering the final year of his contract, confirmed that the Blue Jays approached him two weeks ago and asked how they would be able to keep hold of him. While the 35-year-old did not make his demands public, he has left the franchise with no doubts as to what he is looking for.

The slugger played an instrumental role in the Blue Jays’ run to the American League Championship Series, their first post-season appearance since 1993, hitting 40 home runs. As a result, Bautista believes his demands should be met.

“I don’t think there should be any negotiations. I think I’ve proved myself, and the question has been asked — what will it take — and I’ve given them an answer,” Bautista told reporters on Monday. “I’m not going to sit here and try to bargain for a couple dollars.

“I’m not trying to sound like it was adamant and I put down the law and I drew lines in the sand. They asked me a question and I gave them an answer.

“I didn’t want to waste their time or their effort, so they can start planning ahead, and if it’s not going to happen, they have plenty of time to do so. They asked me about two weeks ago, and I told them, and that’s it. There’s no negotiation. I told them what I wanted. They either meet it, or it is what it is.”

Bautista lavished praise on Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro and general manager Ross Atkins for what they have done for him and the team, but he made it clear that there will be no “hometown discount” when it comes to his new contract. 

“I think they know and realize the things that I say and agree with me. It’s just a matter of, are they willing to go there?” Bautista said. “And it’s not just necessarily Ross and Mark. I can’t say that, I don’t know. Some of that decision making, of a contract the size that I presented, has to come from ownership.

“That doesn’t exist. Not in my world. In my eyes, I’ve given this organization a five-year hometown discount already.”