Jose Bautista Is a Massive Bargain

When the Blue Jays signed Jose Bautista to a five-year, $65 million contract extension before spring training, I said the following:

I get why Toronto made this deal. I think there’s a pretty decent chance he lives up to the contract, even if he’ll likely be perceived as a bust for not repeating his 2010 line each year going forward. However, for me, I’m not sure Toronto got enough of a discount on his expected free agent price to absorb the extra risk of doing this deal now. If my option was take this deal now or let him play out 2011 and re-evaluate at the end of the year, I think I would have waited.

It’s a good thing for Blue Jays fans that I’m not in charge because I would have cost them a lot of money. What’s worse is that I probably would have cost them the chance to keep Bautista in Toronto past this year, because given the start he’s off to this year there’s little chance that the Blue Jays would have been able to re-sign him after this season. The question I want to ask today, though, is just how much did Alex Anthopolous save the Blue Jays with his preemptive strike, signing Bautista before his price went through the roof?

To estimate how much he would have gotten as a free agent this winter, we have to come up with a projection of his future performance. Bautista will be 31 in November, so whoever signed him was going to be buying out his mid-30s for the right to get his next few seasons and make a run at a ring while he’s still one of the game’s premier power hitter. Essentially, he’s at a similar point in his career to where Alfonso Soriano, Jayson Werth, and Matt Holliday were when they cashed in as free agents, and they all settled for basically the same type of deal – Soriano got 8/136, Werth got 7/126, and Holliday got 7/120, giving them basically the same AAV of $17-$18 million per season.

This gives us a pretty decent baseline for what the market has priced for a premium corner outfielder in his early 30s. But it’s fair to say that none of the three players listed had put up anything close to the kind of year that Bautista is on pace to have in his walk year. Incredibly, he’s already put up +3.9 WAR in 32 games, and even using his rest-of-season ZIPS projection (which probably undersells what we should expect considering it is still giving decent weight to his 2009 season), Bautista is likely to end the year with +8 to +9 WAR.

Soriano had a +5.4 WAR season in his walk year, Holliday was at +5.6, and Werth was at +4.9. All three of them had longer track records of success, but that has to be outweighed by the fact that Bautista is simply blowing them all out of the water in recent performance. As long as he stays healthy, he’s going to end the season with something like +17 to +19 WAR in his last three seasons, with most of that concentrated in the two most recent years. Or, to put it another way, Bautista will likely have accumulated as much value in his last two years as Soriano had in the three best seasons of his career before he reached free agency, and that’s just selectively picking years for Soriano rather than using most recent seasons.

So, while Bautista doesn’t have the quantity of performance, the level of quality that he’s putting up should more than make up for it. I’d have a hard time seeing Bautista having to settle for a similar-sized contract to those three. The length seems about right, but I’d imagine Bautista’s agent would be pointing more towards the AAV achieved by Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Howard, Joe Mauer, and Adrian Gonzalez. His performance warrants those kinds of comparisons, which would put him more in the 7/165 range for total contract. That number might sound crazy, but can we really make an argument that Bautista is less valuable now than Mark Texeira was when he hit free agency?

The Yankees signed their first baseman after a +7.3 WAR season, but +1.5 WAR of that was in defensive value, which we know the market doesn’t pay for at full price. He had only put up +7.7 WAR in the two seasons prior to his walk year combined, so he hadn’t exactly established a long term track record of premium performance either, but he was a couple of years younger than Bautista will be this winter.

Teixeira got 8/180, but we have to think that the Yankees were willing to go a bit longer with the contract because of his age. Knock off a year or two to account for Bautista’s date of birth, and we’d be looking at either 6/135 or 7/158. Though, while we’re making adjustments, we probably have to add in some more cash to account for the fact that Bautista is performing at a level that Teixeira has never reached.

So, $165 to $175 million over seven years sounds about right to me. That figure would place Bautista squarely in the best-players-in-the-game club without forcing a team to commit to him when he’s 40, and gives him a comfortable cushion over what lesser players got on the open market. If we assume that the Jays pick up his option for the sixth year, they’ll owe him a total of $79 million over the life of the contract. Even if we toss in an extra $25 million for a seventh year to make an apples-to-apples comparison, then their deal would be 7/104, or $60 to $70 million below what he might have signed for this winter.

It took some pretty huge cajones for Alex Anthopolous to give Bautista a big contract after just one good season, but by doing so he essentially saved his franchise as much money as he gave away in the deal. Combined with dumping the Vernon Wells contract, it’s probably fair to say that Anthopolous created something like $150 million in surplus value for his club this winter.

I doubt any GM has ever had a better off-season than than the one the Blue Jays young GM just had.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

166 Responses to “Jose Bautista Is a Massive Bargain”

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  1. sparbz says:

    I’m no expert, but I had a feeling he wasn’t a fluke. His swing is fluid and he’s not an overwhelmingly large specimen. That being said, I could have easily been wrong. I wonder what the O/U was on his Home Runs.

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  2. SC2GG says:

    After this weekend, I was really looking forwards to this article that I knew would be here. Thank you!

    +21 Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Stormin' Norman says:

    As a Yankees fan, we’re in huge trouble if AA continues to do what he’s done in one offseason.

    +28 Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. uyert says:

    I wonder if they have any shot (or desire) to sign Pujols when he hits free agency.

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    • Kaka says:

      Pujols + Bautista…A modern day Gehrig/Ruth.

      Tantalizing.

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      • JtheExploder says:

        As tantalizing as it sounds, Albert’s going to have to be blown away by a deal to leave StL. AA’s shown to be a pretty savvy GM, and it’ll be interesting to see if he’s willing to commit 10 yrs at 20m+ for anyone.

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      • Geoff says:

        If they made a play it would likely be for Fielder, not Pujols. But we got Lind at 1B with nowhere else to put him and he’s locked up at a favorable rate if last year was an abberation and he is indeed the 2009 / 2011 version.

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      • dc says:

        I agree with Geoff

        While Lind is and never will be Pujols

        His salary and performance make it more realistic for the Jays to go out and spend money on more glaring holes

        Like Second base, Center field and perhaps adding a starter to the rotation

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      • slamcactus says:

        Fielder’s a DH when he hits free agency most likely.

        I have a feeling he won’t get what he expects from the market. The Yankees might be in the bidding war if they want to lock up their DH position long-term, but the Red Sox will be completely out of it. I could see Fielder getting as little as 5 years/$70-80 million, which is significantly less than I imagine he’s dreaming of right now (not that it’s chump change).

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      • AdamM says:

        I can’t see AA going after a big free agent in the off-season, netting a +5-7 WAR bat adds 3-4 wins to a .500 team … that’s not going to get them into the playoffs.

        AA’s will wait, save his money and make a FA splash once his youngsters get more established. He knows he has to build from within first to compete in the AL East, THEN start spending big on FAs.

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      • Someanalyst says:

        They aren’t the types to win bidding wars, these Blue Jays front office prople. But if slamcactus is right and Fielder sees weak demand, then I think they could pounce on a pure DH whose Dad was in TO for a bit.

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      • Jason B says:

        Slamcactus & AdamM – agreed, and agreed. Spot on.

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  5. Ayuh says:

    I feel like a lot of people own him apologies. I realize there are always going to be skeptics, but he seems like the real deal. If I’m not mistaken, his rise can be traced back to an adjustment in his swing. I sort wonder if coaching staffs are changing the way they work with players and their mechanics. I previously had the perception of MLB that a player sort of was who he was, for better or worse. But seeing everything that Bautista has done over the past two years, and, on a smaller scale, what happened with Max Scherzer last year, and what seems to be going on with Granderson this year, it seems like organizations are working more will talent and not just expecting it to work itself out.

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    • SC2GG says:

      Brandon Morrow is another example of a player changing his approach and improving because of it.

      By the way, I expect that AA is due for a fairly significant raise, haha. It’s a shame he couldn’t have concocted some sort of Employee Discount Clause – “For every dollar I save the Jays, I get paid 10% of that as a yearly bonus” in his contract.

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      • dc says:

        Roy Halladay is a perfect example of someone who struggled with early mechanics but had all the talent in the world

        When you have natural talent and a strong work ethic, revamping your mechanics can produce great results..

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  6. 25th_Hour says:

    Watching Bautista hit day in and day out is an absolute joy. That swing is absolute beauty.

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  7. Fred says:

    Bautista probably only has one shot at Maris’ HR number presuming he keeps playing at this level, after that he’ll just walk even more than he is already.

    Random thoughts: I sort of wish he would have played all 162 games just to see what the raw numbers were in the end, hopefully he stays injury free for the rest of the year. I wonder if someone will be voted ahead of him to start the all star game, and if when all’s said and done he has double the nearest player in WAR at the end of the season.

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  8. Max G says:

    More evidence that Alex Anthopolous is the greatest GM the Bluejays have had since Pat Gillick, and he is making a case to be in the best GM conversation. He truly hit it out of the park with the Bautista contract, which I thought was a mistake based on Bautista’s age, regression to the mean, and his ridiculous 2010 season.

    I’m pretty sure nobody predicted Joey Bats would actually be BETTER in 2011 than in 2010. Even the most optimistic predictions had him pegged at 35 to 39 HR, .270 average, which he should easily surpass this season if he stays healthy.

    AA, we all bow in homage to your swami-like GM-greatness…

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  9. Tugboat says:

    So what the heck changed with this guy? He went from a .170 ISO guy to a .350+ ISO guy. Can anybody explain how a player just changes their power output so dramatically? It is incredible. Maybe there is a Pittsburgh Pirate Penalty, kind of like the DH penalty…but much more significant.

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    • Jeej says:

      This Week in Baseball did an episode on the Blue Jays and included some work on what Jose did to change this swing and it can be found on the MLB website. There were some pretty big changes to his swing and his timing.

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    • Benjamin says:

      actually… his ISO is .500.

      basically, the Jays’ hitting coach (Dwayne Murphy) revamped his swing to get him started earlier, and opened up his stance. I think he may not have been such a pull hitter before the revamp, either. but that’s basically the swing mechanics changes

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    • Xenophanes says:

      I also saw a quote from the Pirates GM, either Neal Huntington or his predecessor, last year. Don’t remember exact details, but he really praised Bautista as very intelligent and that one day he would “put it all together.”

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    • Arragoth says:

      Mechanics. I am assuming you aren’t a dedicated follower and aren’t aware of the mechanic changes the Blue Jays coaching staff made in Bautista’s swing when he came over.

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  10. Beaster says:

    I don’t know how/why anyone would pitch to him right now. He’s looking like Bonds did in the first half of the century.
    Detroit would be foolish to not send him to first everytime this week.

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    • Eric Nixon says:

      “I don’t know how/why anyone would pitch to him right now. He’s looking like Bonds did in the first half of the century.
      Detroit would be foolish to not send him to first everytime this week.”

      You’ve got a valid point. They tend to mostly pitch to him with the bases empty, which is why he gets so many solo shots. Other times, they’ll avoid him.

      Sometimes, I think pitchers just want to prove they’re better than him. Look at David Price the other week, who got dinged twice by Bautista in successive at-bats and just shook his head and grinned the second time it happened.

      For pitchers less capable than someone like Price, they try to bust him up and in, since he leans over the plate. That’s fine, but he’s got such great pitch recognition that if it’s a ball he’ll just duck out of the way — and if it catches even a bit of the strike zone by mistake he’ll hammer it. There’s just not a lot of room for error.

      They asked Jack Morris during the Twins’ game yesterday what he’d do and he said just keep throwing at his shoe tops. There’s not many pitchers that will do that anymore, however.

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    • dc says:

      Luckily Lind is back
      so teams can’t just tip toe around Bautista and expect to get away with it

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    • Geoff says:

      If I were a lefty I was walk him and take my chances with Lind. Lind has historically been pretty bad (average) against lefties. If I’m a righty I don’t know what to do. You almost have to pitch to him when Lind is in the lineup because he’s also hitting the ball well.

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      • dc says:

        actaully thats not true regarding Lind

        2011. 342/.350/.500
        2010. 117/.159/.182
        2009 .275/.318/.461

        So besides last year, in which he struggle to hit anyone, let alone lefties. He’s historically been able to handle lefties pretty well and he looks like he is back on track with that so far this year

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      • Geoff says:

        DC, he’s much better against righties though. I’m saying if I were a lefty, I’d be more inclined to give Bautista the pass and pitch to Lind, since he isn’t as good vs. lefties.

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    • wrinklebump says:

      “Detroit would be foolish to not send him to first everytime this week.” Maybe to first 9 times out of 10

      http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b10/alexbaumgardner/verlander.gif

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  11. Shane Bussmann says:

    How many players have posted +3.9 WAR in a 32 game span? Is it really just the cream of the crop, or can Joe average ride a hot streak and reach this level?

    Along similar lines, I guess my gut feeling is that 1.2 seasons of excellence should not outweigh ~4 seasons of mediocrity — at least based on statistical evidence alone.

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    • bender says:

      Excellence falls short of describing this carnage

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    • Fred says:

      I think the point is that it is more than excellence, it’s out of this world good, easily much better than everyone else outside of 2001-2004 Bonds.

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      • KG says:

        if you look at the numbers, bautista is even better than bonds’s best season (2002) at this point. of course, whether he can sustain it for a full season is the question, and of course not likely. but I’m enjoying the ride right now!

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    • TK says:

      I’m sure Tulo late last year was similar, right?

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      • brett says:

        Not even close. Tulo wasn’t walking at a 25% clip.

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      • Mike H says:

        But he was a SS

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      • Kaka says:

        @Mike

        Tulo’s best month: wRC+ 186
        Bautista this year: wRC+ 278

        Being a shortstop doesn’t make up for a nearly 100% increase in offensive production.

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      • TK says:

        Okay, fine. How about Babe Ruth? July and August of 1923 – OPS of 1.436. June of 1921 – 1.537 OPS

        And those are just month splits. I’m sure he topped that during more specific 32-game periods.

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  12. Denny says:

    Lets just hope the Jays can put it together in the next year or so. A player like Bautista can carry them to the playoffs if they can surround him with some other good pieces. They are close, but they need a legitmate #1 guy to step up in the rotation, and another bat or two.

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    • Someanalyst says:

      Agreed. If the Blue Jays don’t contend in the next 2 years and Bautista comes back down to earth… his emergence could actually hurt their chances of a World Series title… that would really suck. For the time being, I’ll just enjoy the ride though… I have never seen anybody be so dominant. I wish I had watched more Bonds…

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  13. johngomes says:

    bluejays -1
    vernon wells-1
    alex rios-1

    finally a good deal for the jays!

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  14. D4P says:

    I thought we had moved beyond the era of believing that (older) players who suddenly quadruple their HR output by bashing 50+ dingers have magically “figured things out” all of a sudden…

    -59 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • dc says:

      fail.

      Arod, Bonds, Sosa, Mcguire, Clemons, Pettite

      Etc etc etc

      we’re all ALREADY good baseball players

      No PEDs are going to turn a 16 HR’ hitter in to a 54 HR hitter without significant body changes..

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      • Jim Lahey says:

        Brady Anderson?

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      • dc says:

        Please direct me to the article in which Brady Anderson admits to PEDs

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      • George says:

        No steroid is going to do that at all, regardless of significant body changes.

        Bautista could very well be on PEDs but to explain this kind of production increase based on that is very narrow-minded indeed.

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      • BJays says:

        Brady Anderson’s year after the 50 HR year: .288/.393/.469

        Bautista this year: .368/.520/.868.

        Anderson was a fluke, Bautista is mother effin god

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      • AA says:

        Go find one of the articles where Cal Ripken talks about Anderson’s 50 HR year. He said that Brady basically got really lucky by combining a lot of good pitches to hit with a lot of good swings.

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    • Fred says:

      I submit to you this irrefutable evidence to the contrary: Bautista’s head has not inflated like a balloon in either of the past 2 years.

      +10 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • dc says:

        his beard is definetely on PEDs though

        the guy shaves before a game and by the 3rd inning he has a full beard

        What we are witnessing ladies and gentlemen, is the rebirth of Samson

        +60 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • hunterfan says:

        FWIW, HGH makes your head swell, not steroids.

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    • yoda says:

      Did Kurt Warner go from Arena Football to NFL Pro Bowler because of PEDs? It’s rare, but sometimes “older” guys can figure things out about the skills in their trade/sport, without needing “enhancements”

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      • AA says:

        Kurt Warner was the ultimate beneficiary of excellent offenses that perfectly matched his skill set. If Buddy Ryan ever knew anything about offense, Randall Cunningham would have every record in the book. Football is completely different in that way.

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  15. Captain Obvious says:

    Yes, it is good for all MLB teams that Dave Cameron is not in charge.

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  16. Mike Green says:

    I have got plenty of mistakes on my resume, but this one so far looks good. I criticized the organization for low-balling the arbitration offer, praised the extension highly and predicted 48 homers this year “in an off-season”.

    The trick for the organization is to capitalize on the wise financial transactions and actually make a winning club. To my surprise, it looks like the future begins in 2011; no great sums of money need be expended but rather a few promotions and a low-cost acquisition or two.

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  17. Ben Hall says:

    Though Dave makes this point implicitly, the deal is even better BECAUSE the sixth year is an option year and the 7th year doesn’t exist. Regardless of how good he is now, those last years (at ages 35 and 36) almost certainly won’t be as good, and the Blue Jays don’t have to overpay for those years the way they would have had to pay if he went to free agency.

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  18. Eric says:

    I remember seeing an article here asking if Bautista could be better in 2011. I remember laughing at that article

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  19. Anders says:

    I didn’t think he’d be this good, but I thought signing him was a slam dunk at the time:

    “Lastly, there has been some scuttlebutt about waiting for Bautista to play out 2011 before deciding whether to re-sign him. I can’t say that I understand this. If Bautista plays really well, the Jays can’t afford him or can’t re-sign him. If he plays pretty well, the Jays are probably paying out the same amount of money, maybe a bit more, depending on how salaries go. If he plays poorly, the team cuts him loose or pays him a little. For the reasons discussed above, I think the last option is the least likely. If the Jays are going to want to re-sign him after this year, I just don’t think there is any way he gets less money, or fewer years. ” – February.

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  20. The General Public says:

    Steroids.

    -104 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Tom Jackson says:

      Where’s your proof?

      They must be an incredibly, magical steroids. So incredibly magical that nobody else, in a league where offense is drastically down for the second year in a row, knows anything about them.

      I’m not saying it’s not a possibility, but let’s remember what league wide offense looked like during the steroid era, and what it looks like now, before we jump all over the simplest explanation.

      +6 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • pedro says:

      If you can find these steroids, will you please send me some? I’m a +1 WAR employee, but that magic juice would could make me Employee of the Year!!!

      +8 Vote -1 Vote +1

  21. powder blues says:

    Rivera has been providing excellent “protection” too…

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  22. eric_con says:

    Bautista is blowing my mind right now and I hope he keeps it up. But I wonder if we won’t look back on all the love in this article at the end of the year and say we really called the top…

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  23. GVeers says:

    One thing that I think is sometimes lost in contract analysis is team context. The Blue Jays are a club that should place more value than most in high-risk, high-reward contracts. In that tough division, without edges in their farm system or financial resources, they are going to be hard-pressed to contend unless they sign a couple super-bargain contracts. That’s going to entail taking some leaps of faith.

    With Bautista, the perfect sort of situation presented itself to AA and it looks like he almost certainly made the right call. Now the Jays window for contending in the next few years has gotten much more compelling.

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    • glassSheets says:

      Using volatility for options (I’m not a finance major or anything, but have a moderate understanding) suggest that options with stock prices way above or below the strike price benefit the most from volatility. Options with strike prices near the current stock price are hurt by volatility.

      Same goes for firms with debt. Having trouble? Then literally go for broke becasue you might save the firm, and if you fail miserably, only the debtors are out of the money and not you.

      I think this could be applied to baeball teams. Teams like the Pirates and Nationals should be risk averse whereas teams at the contention level should seek out the more stable players.

      Toronto probaly falls in the “out of hte money” category so would benefit from volatility as you suggest using my financial theory analogy.

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      • Scott_Hayter says:

        uh, i’m not sure you understand the meaning of ‘risk averse’…

        Teams like the Pirates and Nationals should be “Risk Taking”…

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      • glassSheets says:

        Yes, I meant risk taking. Typo.

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      • CWB says:

        I get your point, but to be exact… options with strike prices closest to the current stock price have the most sensitivity to changes in volatility.

        In options trader language, those options have the most “vega” (or, as it’s known at trading firms with knowledge of ancient Greek, “tau”) and this makes intuitive sense. An increase in volatility doesn’t really change the likelihood a deep in-the-money option goes out of the money and vice versa. At the extreme margins, an option either trades like stock or has relatively stable value as a lottery ticket.

        What you are describing with the Pirates and Nationals (and Toronto) is the payout of a call option. Fixed and limited downside for (theoretically) unlimited upside. This is how traders often treat their jobs and bonus expectations, and, incidentally, why there is so much systemic risk in the financial markets.

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      • bluejaysstatsgeek says:

        This is the philosophy AA has been articulating in several contexts: High risk, high ceiling players. He’s done it in the draft, and he’s done it in trades.

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      • glassSheets says:

        Thanks for being more exact, CWB.

        Yes, I meant introducing more volatility to the current state. If the option is curerntly way out of hte money and worth $1 a week ago. Then this week there is a large increase in volatility to the market and it is worth >$1, correct?

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      • CWB says:

        Sorry, I should have been more clear. An increase in volatility will most significantly increase the value of an option whose strike price is closest the stock price, but that increase will also affect all options.

        The sensitivity (partial derivative) is like a bell curve, with the tails at the far ends, which are either deep in-the-money or out-of-the-money options.

        Let’s say a far out-of-the-money option has a 3 vega, meaning, a 1 percent upward move in volatility will move the price of an out-of-the-money option up 03 cents. That 1 percent move in the underlying stock’s volatility might change the price of an at-the-money option, which will have a 50 vega, up 50 cents.

        It’s similar to minor league players. Unexpected changes in talent will really only help / hurt those right on the line between the major and minor leagues. Someone who is super amazing or super terrible won’t really be affected that much.

        So an increase in vol might increase your $1 dollar out-of-the-money option a few pennies. Won’t be a huge difference. The game is most interesting with the borderline candidates / options.

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      • glassSheets says:

        The game is most interesting near the strike prices, so those teams have to be more cautious with how much volatility they take on. While teams not near the strike price don’t have to worry as much about that. Teams far away from the playoffs can think of it as a call option payout, because, from a baseball standpoint excluding the finances from lack of fan interest, they essentially have no downside risk to be worse (only a higher draft pick) and only upside.

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  24. Rico says:

    What genuinely surprises me is the glaring lack of PED discussion in regards to Bautista. Here’s a guy who essentially was a replacement player until nearly turning 30 years old. It’s a lovely “old time baseball” story to discuss a mechanics issue with his swing, but you could fill an entire cable lineup with mechanics adjustments. What’s next, he’s been in the best shape of his life the past 2 years?

    The bottom line is that to go from replacement player to discussions of best in MLB is the kind of thing that should come with a mandatory PED test, or at the very least nonstop calls for him to volunteer for one. And yet MLB clearly must instruct all announcers and commentators and reporters that to bring it up is both taboo and punishable. If you were the Yankees right now, with all the heat they’ve taken for PEDs, or the Red Sox, or any team competing with the blue jays in the standings or financially or both, you’d think somebody would bring this up. What’s sad is that they don’t.

    -63 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • George says:

      #1. Everytime they have a feature on Jose Bautista on ESPN, Karl Ravech brings up PEDs. It’s kind of annoying, really, but you wouldn’t expect anything less from that network.

      #2. If there’s a PED out there that turns guys struggling to make the majors into superstars, I’m sure there’s a lot of baseball players that would love to have it. How did Bautista manage to be the only one to find the right stuff?

      +10 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Dave Cameron says:

      You’re right – what’s really missing in this country is people with a willingness to speculate wildly about steroid usage. Huge shortage of that.

      +58 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • SC2GG says:

        Dave, a drug exists that you can take to resolve that situation. Some sort of WED that encourages wild speculation. It’s part of the staff breakfast at FOX News. They developed it at FALCO. There’s two of them, The Coffee and The Crazy, undetectable by people who work at or watch FOX News.

        +7 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Hodgie says:

      It is sad that organizations choose not to defame an individual, without a single shred of proof of any wrong-doing beyond a change in performance? Now that is what is sad!

      Your premise is also ridiculous; simply Google Jose Bautista and PED and please try to tell me that no-one is doing so.

      +7 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Garold says:

      You realize that they’re testing for PED’s in baseball now, right?

      And frankly, I find it laughable that you find it “sad” that other organizations don’t assert that someone else in the league is on PED’s with ZERO evidence to back it up. The players on the Yankees or Red Sox that have taken heat for PED’s either admitted to it or had leaked test results that showed positive tests. Any time someone else has a good year, they’re supposed to blindly throw out accusations?

      +6 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • lexomatic says:

      What’s sad is the number of “Yankee fans”, upset at the team not being able to buy every good player, blaming those player’s success on PEDs. If you think he hasn’t been tested (and cleared) because of last year, you (and everyone else with this opinion) should stop and think about just what you’re saying. Whether it’s effective or not, MLB has the best testing system in pro sports. If he’s passing that, then there’s no reason to believe he’s on PED. Without any evidence to the contrary, continuing to believe this has something to do with PED’s is just sour grapes.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • csawce says:

      Just because a guy hits 50 bombs, doesn’t mean he’s taking PEDs

      Just because my hot wife has newly discovered what a push up bra does to her DD tatas doesn’t mean she’s doing porn … right?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Mike H says:

        @csawce That’s literally the worst analogy I’ve seen in years.

        +33 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • fred says:

        I was thinking that’s FIGURE-ATIVELY (see what I did there? ) the worst analogy…

        On a separate not – can we please stop misusing the word literally to simply emphasize a point? It literally annoys the hell out of me, literally.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Scott_Hayter says:

      I think the MLB instructs its announcers and commentators that LIBEL is taboo and punishable. If Joey Bats fails a drug test, then I’m heartbroken… until then, or I hear something resembling evidence, he is the best player in baseball. Period.

      +9 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • johngomes says:

      everytime bonds would take a swing a guy in the bar would yell roids… i always suspected roids but did not care…. if something seems too good to be true it usually is…

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Someanalyst says:

        Great! Now all we need is a rigorous definition of “too good to be true” and we will know the future!

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • BD says:

      See, I don’t get this type of speculation. How would PEDs contribute to Bautista’s incredible sense of the strike zone, which is probably the biggest reason for his breakthrough? Watch him at the plate for a few games if you can, then come back and speculate some more. My sense of things is that a lot of the people whispering (or otherwise) “steroids” haven’t actually seen him hit aside from on highlight shows, and instead just look at the numbers and think it’s a no-brainer that he’s using something.

      +9 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Pat says:

        Does this mean that Bonds always had the uncanny plate discipline he had during his record-setting home run years? Because I think we can all agree that those were PED aided.

        I’m asking this question in all seriousness BTW

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • BD says:

        As a fan of an AL team, I couldn’t tell you Pat. I didn’t get to watch Bonds at the plate, except for during his years with the Pirates. He did lead the NL in OBP during his last 2 seasons with Pittsburgh, and I don’t think anyone would disagree that Bonds was always a very disciplined hitter.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Arragoth says:

      He has been tested twice since September 2009.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jim says:

      What George said. You must never watch baseball on television.

      What should be mandatory is for people who accuse others of steroid usage to have some kind of rudimentary knowledge of what steroids do to a body and what little impact they have on a player’s swing.

      If Rico had watched more baseball on TV, he might have even caught a breakdown of the changes in Bautista’s swing.

      BTW Rico: what team do you root for? If Bautista played for them, would you be so quick to toss out the baseless accusations?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  25. Someanalyst says:

    I am prematurely proclaiming 2011 the “Year of the Good Guys” with two of my favourite baseball folks (worthy role-models and all), Bautista and Granderson #1 and #2 in AL HRs at year-end. A moment of pure baseball joy (for this fan)!

    +26 Vote -1 Vote +1

  26. johngomes says:

    is this argument correct, i am hearin that “even if they found out he(jose) was positive they would throw out the results because he(jose) is good for the game and good for attendance”

    hmmm makes u wonder right?

    seems like baseball needs a feel good story and a sideshow circus just like chapmans 106 mph fastball…

    -35 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Someanalyst says:

      Impossible. That MLB would consider such an approach is plausible (cynicism is not an indication of implausibility)… what makes it exceedingly unlikely is the nature of MLB / Players Association dealings. The political risks of that manoeuvre dramatically exceed the potential benefits to MLB. These are rich folks fighting over how to divide an immense pie – all blows are permitted, by definition.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • evander says:

      it just makes you wanna reproduce a few kids and raise them to be ballplayers doesnt it?

      between androis, strasburgh and bryce harper, theres defintely the “my kid could be the next griffey or greg maddux” feeling in baseball.

      any 4 or 5 year old can be raised to be a bench player like jose bautista…. but can you raise your bench player to be bautisssssssta, the 65 million dollar man!

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • kick me in the GO NATS says:

      this conspiracy makes no sense because Toronto has nowhere near the popularity of the rd sox or yankees. This only makes sense if the player plays for NYC or Boston.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  27. bonestock94 says:

    I don’t buy the (baseless) PED accusations because the guy has to be getting tested randomly A LOT, if not the maximum allowed by the league.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • hunterfan says:

      The fact that he’s testing clean via the MLB drug tests won’t silence the doubters because there’s many PEDs the league can’t/won’t test for.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Kevin says:

        Also, we live in an age where facts don’t matter. “I believe idea A, therefore any facts disproving it must be false!”

        +11 Vote -1 Vote +1

  28. everdiso says:

    The question for AA regarding a Pujols/Fielder type signing isn’t whether he can afford to do it, IMO, but whether he can afford NOT to do it.

    He’s savvily managed to lock in the best player in baseball to a bargain deal – it would be criminal if he wasted that bargain and wasted having a player like this by not going out and getting another elite bat to partner with him during his 5 year window (if that) of being this kind of hitter.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  29. woodman says:

    With possibly the best player in baseball right now, Toronto has a unique opportunity. This year is kind of wasted because of the at bats given to Rivera, Encarnacion, a struggling Hill, Patterson, McDonald.

    But with Lawrie, Arencibia, Escobar, Lind, Drabek, Romero, Morrow, heck even Litsch (3.36 xFIP for now) there’s talent to break through in a big way in 2012. Will they make any big moves? AA has said before he isn’t averse to trading prospects for impact players, and Toronto has got plenty of prospects.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Scott_Hayter says:

      They don’t need to waste prospects… They’ve got money and only a few spots in the lineup they need to fill (DH, 2B, CF, P)… Imagine if they signed four guys to 12.5 million/year contracts for those positions (although the 2B free agent market kind sucks right now, i’ll admit)…

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  30. hunterfan says:

    I don’t see the problem with asking questions as long as the questions don’t turn into verdicts without a trial.

    A man suddenly turns from Johnny Gomes into the reincarnation of Barry Bonds. Should we not also question it?

    Why is questioning unusual situations and circumstances a bad thing? Aren’t questions what eventually uncovered the whole steroids debacle?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • dc says:

      why question steroids specifically though?

      maybe he was abducted by aliens, or he dug up yogi berra’s grave and put on his lucky boxers.

      If you are going to speculate because of a good performance, why stop at steroids?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • hunterfan says:

        Because in baseball’s not so recent past, some of its biggest stars put up absurd power numbers and it was later found that these stars took PEDs. I think that’s why PEDs is the rational person’s thought. I’m sure if Mark McGwire or Barry Bonds were found to be alien abductees, then people would also be questioning that as well.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • UKJaysfan says:

        Yogi Berra is still alive….

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • BillWallace says:

        Those boxers really ARE lucky!

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  31. Detroit Michael says:

    Garold: MLB is testing for certain PEDs – HGH is not one of them.

    Cameron: I wanted to ask you a question – has anyone in MLB history ever developed like this at around age 29?

    His comps on Baseball Reference don’t make any sense because those comps are comparing him to his entire career thus far and not the last 175 games or so.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Detroit Michael says:

      Please ignore. That post is not written by the original Detroit Michael. Someone else is using my handle.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  32. Mylegacy says:

    Toronto has the money, the Bombtista and the GM to really make a move.

    What is complicating the picture is the amazing talent in the minors. Picture Lawrie (TEARING it up in AAA at 21 years of age) at 3rd instead of Johnny McDonald or Nix or Encarnacion. Picture whichever of Eric Thames (TEARING it up in AAA in only his second full year in the minors) or Snider wins out in LF instead of Patterson. Picture Lind healthy at 1st instead of Cooper or Encarnacion. Picture the loser of the Thames / Snider batter for LF as the DH. Four positions with serious upside all internally.

    What the Jays could use is another ACE – but then doesn’t everyone.

    One other thing – watch Arencibia – seriously – the guy is not too far off from having his own Bautista Transformation moment. JPA will hit 30+ homers by accident – give him another year or two and he’ll be a regular 40+ homer guy. I GUARANTEE it! Have I ever lied to you before?

    +6 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Noxcar says:

      As a Jays fan I’m both embarrassed by and excited by your homerism.

      +29 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Scott_Hayter says:

      Wow, a guy on the internet GUARANTEED it… I guess i better start planning my 2012 world series party. Anyone know a good baseball-themed stripper I can hire?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  33. jose says:

    What could the Blue Jays get in return for Bautista? Seriously, he’s probably at the height of his value or will be shortly, so the Jays could get maximum return from a trade. I understand that Bautista may represent the best pure power-hitter in the game today and for the next several years. What might the Yankees offer in return for his services? Montero and a few pitchers to start? And how about the Angels?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  34. Nox says:

    As posted on the Jays message board:

    —————————————————–

    <Might as well do the exercise at this point:

    Assumptions:

    1) Bautista will be a 6 WAR (conservative IMO) player this year and then follow a standard aging curve for the duration of his contract.

    2) Salary inflation will be approximately 5% going forward.

    3) The 2016 option will be picked up by the team

    2011

    Salary: $8M

    Production: 6 WAR x 4.9M ($/WAR) = $29.4M

    Surplus Value Provided: $21.4M

    2012

    Salary: $14M

    Production: 5.5 WAR x 5.15M ($/WAR) = $28.975M

    Surplus Value Provided: $14.29M

    2013

    Salary: $14M

    Production: 5 WAR x 5.4M($/WAR) = $27.036M

    Surplus Value Provided: $13.04M

    2014

    Salary: $14M

    Production: 4.5 WAR x 5.67M ($/WAR) = $25.5

    Surplus Value Provided: $11.5M

    2015

    Salary: $14M

    Production: 4 WAR x 5.95M ($/WAR) = $23.8

    Surplus Value Provided: $9.8M

    2016

    Salary: $14M

    Production: 3.5 WAR x 6.24M ($/WAR) = $21.84

    Surplus Value Provided: $7.84M

    Total Surplus Value gained over Bautista Contract: $77.87M (Holy Crap)

    According to research (Victor Wang):

    A Top 10 hitting prospect is worth $36M

    A Top 10 pitching prospect is worth $15.2M

    In other words, Bautista is worth approximately 1 top 10 hitting prospect and 3 top 10 pitching prospects.

    In 2011 context (going by Keith Law's list):

    Teheran + Hosmer + Shelby Miller + Hellickson.

    It seems absurd, but that's what the numbers bear out.

    No team has that much prospect depth and no team would ever mortgage their future to that extent. So I don't think getting fair value would ever happen if you're only after prospects.

    +18 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • es0terik says:

      @Nox

      *(If you don’t want to read all this, just skip to the bottom and read the TL;DR)

      I’m new to these fancy baseball statistics, so I’m not sure exactly how WAR works. Is WAR an average like BA and OPS or is it a cumulative number that just increases (like Walks and Home Runs)? Because if WAR is an average, then Bautista has a 4.3 Average right now (after playing the best quarter-season in recent history), and probably won’t meet your 6 WAR expectation. BUT if WAR is a cumulated number stat that just grows with performance (which is what I’m going to assume), then try this on for size:

      Jose Bautista has ALREADY posted a 4.2 WAR.
      That means he has already earned $21,070,000 of his $65 Million dollar contract. In 37 Games!

      His $65 Million contract goes over five years, which means roughly 810 games. Now I’m not going to tell you how much he would be worth if he continued on this 37 game pace throughout the rest of his contract. Partly because the number is so ridiculous it makes me doubt my calculations, and party because there’s an incredibly minute chance of that ever happening.

      But a much more realistic estimate (although still extraordinary and hard to believe) is this:

      If Jose Bautista somehow, in some inhuman way is able to continue the exact pace that he’s been on through his first 37 games played, and ends up playing full at-bats in every remaining Blue Jays Game this is what I get:

      Givens:
      162 Games in One Season
      46 Games Played by Blue Jays
      37 Games Played / 8 Games Missed (Jose Bautista)
      1 Win in 2011 = $4,900,000 (According to You)
      Current WAR for Jose Bautista = 4.3

      Calculations:
      162 (Games) – 8 (Games Missed) = 154 (Max Possible Games for Joey in ’11)
      154 / 37 (Games Played) = 4.16 (of the season Completed)
      4.16 * 4.3 (Current WAR) = 17.89 WAR
      17.9 * $4,900,000 (Worth of 1 Win) = $87,710,000

      Assumptions:

      With this final number I feel as if I’ve probably made some big errors in calculation in a few places, or I just haven’t understood WAR properly. On the other hand, I notice that the Bambino himself once posted a season high 14.9 WAR. This forces me to reach the insane conclusion that my calculations might actually be correct. If that’s the case then…

      TL;DR:

      If Jose Bautista can somehow continue on the exact pace that he has held throughout the first quarter of this season, he would post a historic, unmatched, unchallenged, indestructible record 17.9 WAR in one season.

      According to your post Nox, with a 6 WAR Jose Bautista would produce a 21.4 million dollar surplus. According to my hypothetical calculations, he would post a 21.7 million dollar surplus, so the number isn’t that far off. The difference? Your 21.4M surplus is on his 2011 contract. My 21.7M surplus is on his entire five year contract.

      Yeah… If he continues on his current pace, Bautista will have made $8,000,000 at the end of 2011, but will have earned $87,710,000.

      Just think about it. If Bautista DOES post the above results in 2011, Alex Anthopoulus will have made back so much money off of him, that Bautista would have to then post a 0.0 WAR in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 AND 2016, with a $21,700,000 option for 2016 JUST TO BREAK EVEN.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • es0terik says:

        So long story short, did Alex Anthopoulus get a bargain on Jose Bautista?

        Well if Bautista continues on even a quarter of the pace that he’s been on so far, then HELL YES. This page says it well:

        Jose Bautista is a massive bargain.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • es0terik says:

        Oh and whoops, I forgot to add that there’s a possibility of Bautista earning 2.0 WAR just from his fielding performance. That hasn’t even been equated into any of the above calculations.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  35. everdiso says:

    forget about the decrepit Yanks trading for the best player in baseball on a bargain deal, lets talk about the Jays trading for Cano to kickstart the Yanks’ rebuild.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  36. Garrett says:

    Your analysis with comps is criminally bad. I stopped reading when you confused 65m with 100m+. Though atleast you are consistent with a complete lack of understanding of finance.

    -10 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Guy says:

      I guess you stopped reading at the end as that’s where the presumed typo took place. Get off your high horse…trying to type up an anlytical post like that in the comments is tough to do without calculation error.

      Your understanding of human interaction is criminally bad.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Lewis says:

      Your type are the worst.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Justin says:

      Does anybody know anything about finance? When CDOs are almost universally thought of as a good idea I have to wonder.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Bron says:

      I guess adding isn’t your thing eh?

      The money saved from the Wells and Bautista deals do in fact add up to a surplus greater than $100M.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  37. Gardenwire says:

    It was funny wathcing the Twins broadcasts of the series and hearing Blyleven cry all weekend. The Twins plan was not to let him beat them, and Gardenhire said to pitch him away and if he still hits it out so be it. It was great seeing him hit the opposite field blast right after Blyleven brought it up.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  38. Garrett says:

    Here is my question; I don’t want to think the guy is taking PEDs. I want to just take new swing, corrected approach, great coaching into play and just figure he was a diamond in the rough that they figured it out. I hate to just blame PEDs in the face of what I don’t understand – so my question is – are there any other players that have had this kind of turnaround after 4 or 5 seasons of replacement level performance? I mean, maybe this kid is really special and he got unlocked, (and I’m not asking this just to say “maybe those guys were juicing”) – I really just want to know if there is some precedence to this.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Garrett #2 says:

      I should mention that the above was written by a different Garrett then the one who had posted earlier in this thread. Just a fortunate person with an excellent name.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Rylan Stolar says:

      Look at Roy Halladay. Back in the first few years of his career he was an over the top 98mph guy with an outstanding curve. He got pounded to a 10.67 ERA in 2000, the major league record for anyone with over 50 IP. Jays put him back in A ball, told him to throw 90-93 with a 3/4 arm angle and ditch the 4 seamer for a cutter and sinker. BAM best pitcher in baseball, although he only had 3 years in the majors before rebuilding himself.

      But seriously, look at his swings when he first came to TO and look at him now, you wouldn’t even think they were the same player.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Garrett #2 says:

        Well, I was hoping for a batter and not a pitcher – because I think that we can say that there are ALOT of batters that have had 3 or 4 rough seasons, and they had a batting coach change their swing, sometimes a little, and sometimes quite a bit – but I don’t think we have seen the kind of change in a player that we have seen here. This is really very unique – but like Sherlock Holmes said “…when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?”. It is very unlikely he’s found some way to use PEDs through the scrutiny and testing that is currently happening. It is just amazing that one guy could take a swing change to this level in a way that we haven’t really seen in major league history before.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  39. Michael says:

    I just wanted to say that I am playing many fantasy baseball teams and when I drafted Bautista because I did not have my main 3B, David Wright, I tried to trade Bautista for Wright. It was DECLINED!! At the time, I was upset, but now if the person offered me a trade for the two, it would be I who would DECLINE the trade!! LOL I am so glad that the person declined the trade when he said that he thought Bautists’s 50+ home runs were a fluke. Well, it turns out that it is NOT a fluke after all. :)

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  40. Marek K says:

    I love how the “not so smart” ppl automatically got to “oh hes on juice” if they can’t believe something or something happens for someone else, it’s always oh he has to be cheating. Bautista stuggled for many years, get a MLB package from your tv provider and watch Bautista play, he has by far the fastest bat speed I have ever seen in a MLB player ever, I wish they could time it somehow, with all these stats you would think something would be in place by now like the car 0-60 stat. How quick his bat speed is to all the MLB players, avg players barely move the bat off their shoulder in the span of his whole swing just increadible.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  41. Jim says:

    “Teheran + Hosmer + Shelby Miller + Hellickson.

    It seems absurd, but that’s what the numbers bear out.”

    It seems absurd because it is.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  42. Jose says:

    So, Jim, how much is he worth?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jim says:

      Definitely those four guys. Throw in Hanley Ramirez while we’re at it. Still not quite fair value but I think the Jays would take it.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  43. Seriously says:

    To the people who say “steroids/hgh”

    Is Jose B is the ONLY one still juicing and somehow not getting caught. Because he is the only guy in the past two seasons that has been hitting homeruns like the Sosa/Bonds/Mcgwire fraud. And his body/weight hasn’t changed at all in the past 5-6 years.
    Give it up
    Seriously

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  44. delv says:

    Let’s see MLB keep him out of the HR Derby this year. Last year, he was snubbed despite leading MLB at the time.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  45. Child says:

    Why are my comments not showing on this site?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  46. Someanalyst says:

    Folks keep saying that Bautista went from replacement level to elite. Actually, he went from replacement level to 2 WAR everyday player to elite. He logged almost 1000 MLB ABs before he got going. But, if you take out the Rule 5 draft and the complications it introduces to player development, this guy would not have had so strange a career trajectory.

    My point is that the reasons we have not previously seen a Bautista-like career trajectory before may have as much to do with the evolution of the CBA as it does with the originality of his story.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Garrett #2 says:

      Interesting. Are you basically saying that he was spending time in the majors that generally would be spent in the minors? That would certainly make sense that it would be time he would have spent having his mechanics worked on in AA and AAA and eventually started killing pitching down there. That is something I’d like to look into. Thanks for the insight.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Someanalyst says:

        Well paraphrased – that is exactly how I should have put it: time spent in the majors whereas without the Rule V draft he would have been in AA/AAA.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  47. Rob says:

    “”I doubt any GM has ever had a better off-season than than the one the Blue Jays young GM just had.””

    Makes me wonder who is considered to be the greatest GM of all time?
    What is the top 10 list of GM’s of all time?

    I would guess Branch Rickey is in the list.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=9FMEAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PP1&pg=PA78#v=twopage&q&f=true

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  48. Nocturne says:

    I wasn’t really sure about the contract, but I believed that Joey B. had turned a corner and figured him for a 30-35 homer season and .270 or so. I’m glad it’s way more than that, he’s a treat to watch. I know he hit a few the other way recently, but watching his extreme pull swing dispels any PED doubts, in my mind.

    I saw a Jays fan mention ya’ll need a second baseman. Maybe AA should consider fleecing my Angels again, they have a surplus of high OBP, speedy infielders. I’m sure Tony Reagins will take whatever other albatross contracts the Jays still hold.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  49. AA says:

    It doesn’t hurt that he can play 3B if they need him to.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  50. SC2GG says:

    So, what do you statheads think of the “Bautista Index” talked about here:

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/toronto-blue-jays-jose-bautista-has-the-stats-and-the-game-to-prove-he-is-best-in-baseball-051711

    How does this compare to the actual stats on this site? By the way, that’s a great article overall, aside from the Bautista Index thought.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  51. Duck says:

    Observation and question. Jose Bautista throughout his career has always had a violent swing but could just not make consistent contact until September 2009 when Dwayne Murphy, the Jay’s hitting coach, recommended adjustments to his stance and timing.

    After reviewing on http://www.hittrackeronline.com the average distance of Bautista’s 15 homeruns in both 2007 (400 ft) and 2008 (401 ft) can the people who still believe Bautista is on PED’s kindly explain why the average distance of his16 homeruns in 2011 is only 394ft?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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