Bautista won't negotiate contract demands with Blue Jays
If the Toronto Blue Jays wish to retain the services of Jose Bautista after this season, they'll have to ante up.
"(Hometown discount) doesn't exist, not in my world," Bautista told reporters Monday. "In my eyes I've given this organization a five-year hometown discount already."
Bautista agreed to a five-year, $64-million extension prior to 2011 and is set to earn $14 million in the final season of his deal. The 35-year-old is coming off a year in which he hit .250/.377/.535 with 40 homers, and has averaged 38 home runs and 97 RBIs the past six seasons.
"I don't want to make this spring training or the season about my contract situation and I have to be fair to everyone including myself and continue to focus on playing baseball and be as productive as I can be," Bautista said.
While he acknowledged earlier this winter that it would be an honor to finish his career in Toronto, the six-time All-Star said he already informed the club of the figures it'll take to retain him and that the topic isn't up for discussion.
"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 [respond]. They asked me about two weeks ago, and I told them, that's it. There's no negotiation, I told them what I wanted. They either meet it, or it is what it is."
The Blue Jays' new front office tandem of president Mark Shapiro and general manager Ross Atkins have spent the winter trying to get to know the face of the franchise. The trio sat down to meet last month at Bautista's home in Florida, with Shapiro stating the team has every intention of trying to retain the slugger.
Bautista said his relationship with the front office has been great, and praised the work that Shapiro and Atkins have done early on. He also made it clear he understands the business and is confident in knowing his worth.
"I'm not willing to negotiate even right now," Bautista said. "I don't think there should be any negotiation. I think I've proved myself and the question has been asked, what will it take, and I've given them an answer. It is what it is. I'm not going to sit here and try to bargain for a couple dollars.
"Baseball has a great way of measuring each player's value and it's about how much of that are they willing to share with the player," Bautista said. "I understand the business and I don't believe in the whole budget and payroll. I don't believe in any of that stuff. I know exactly how baseball works. Especially a team that's structured like we are."