Chilly market chases Bautista back to Toronto

After an injury-plagued season, Jose Bautista returned to the Blue Jays with a deal for far fewer dollars and years than he was seeking. Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP

Back at the start of spring training in 2016, Jose Bautista made it clear that he was looking for a five-year deal in the $100 million range. He was coming off a 40-homer, 110-walk season, so based on what he accomplished on the field -- and the fact that he had been to six straight All-Star Games -- one would at least understand that he wanted deals like Robinson Cano, Joey Votto and Albert Pujols got, one that would take him to age 40.

However, what Bautista didn’t factor in at the time is that the Votto and Pujols deals quickly became albatross-type contracts and the new generation of GMs didn’t want to make the same mistake as the Reds and Angels.

But 2016 was a disaster for Bautista’s plans to get a nine-figure contract: He was plagued with injuries, underperformed and his value plummeted. He was hoping a strong September would at least bring the value back and that teams would still be lining up to sign him. When the Blue Jays made him a qualifying offer of $17.2 million, he turned it down with hopes he’d at least get a three-year deal on the market.

That’s when things got really bad for Bautista.