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Bautista: It would be an honor to finish career in Toronto

Noah K. Murray / USA TODAY Sports / Reuters

Jose Bautista launched his career in Toronto, and the opportunity to potentially end it with the Blue Jays holds plenty of merit to the six-time All-Star.

"It would be an honor if I had the opportunity to do so," Bautista told Gregory Strong of The Canadian Press on Thursday.

He added: "Fans-wise, city-wise, having the country behind us and every other aspect of being a Toronto Blue Jay player is something that I love. Now hopefully that matches up with the new front office desire to win now, kind of like myself."

Related: How much should the Blue Jays spend to keep Bautista?

Standing in the way, however, is Bautista's impending free agency and a revamped front office that might not be willing to make the financial commitment to the outfielder who will be 36 going into next season.

While it's been reported fellow impending free agent and teammate Edwin Encarnacion will not discuss an extension during the season, Bautista said his camp has not given the team a deadline.

President Mark Shapiro and general manager Ross Atkins sat down with the slugger last month for their first face-to-face meeting since the duo took over late last year. Atkins stressed the importance of him getting to know Bautista before the two sides could begin to think about a potential deal.

"They felt like they had the need to get to know us a little bit and I feel the same way," Bautista said. "They're new to the team, I don't really know them personally or their style of management per se other than what I've seen or heard in the press from their previous jobs, which was to be conservative because you're in a small market type of thing."

A late bloomer who bounced around the first six years of his career before exploding for 54 home runs with the Blue Jays in 2010, Bautista is due for a big payday this winter. And coming off a season in which he hit 40 home runs, he's shown no signs of slowing down.

"I have to go by how I feel and I feel great," Bautista said. "I feel like I could play for another 10 (years). Whether that's realistic or not, again time will tell. But I have no set number of years that I would like to play moving forward.

"I'll play until they tell me that I can't or they kick me out or they just send me home."

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