Congratulations go out to Toronto third baseman Jose Bautista, who reportedly scored a monster 5-year, $65-million deal on the heels of his huge 2010 season. He slammed 92 extra-base hits, including 54 home runs, while driving in 124 runs with a .260 batting average (he’s a career .244 hitter).
I applaud Bautista and his agent for negotiating such a fantastic contract on the strength of a single season. The 30-year old 3B/OF had been in and out of the major leagues since 2004. He had never hit more than 16 home runs nor driven in more than 63 runs in any season.
Bautista had shown gap power with his 36-double, 15-home run season for the Pirates in 2007 (the year that he drove in 63 runs) and finished 2009 with a huge power surge, but nobody could have seen his 2010 season coming.
And now, the Blue Jays are forking off a mountain of cash to him with hope of similar output. Was it really just a simple adjustment of his swing that kept Bautista from being a fledging major league player to a behemoth? It took that long to find it?
I don’t believe that the floor drops out from under Bautista or that he sinks into oblivion. He’s in a good lineup in a good ballpark and will put up solid numbers. What level of production are they paying for here?