It appears the return of Jose Bautista to the Toronto Blue Jays line up for the 2017 Major League baseball season is imminent.
Bautista’s return was in question after the free agent turned down a $17.2 million qualifying offer in November from the club.
However, on Monday, multiple sources reported the Jays being close to a signing the 36 year old outfielder to a multi-year deal.
Bautista has spent eight seasons with Toronto arriving from Pittsburgh in 2008.
Since joining the Jays, “Joey Bats” has been an all star 6 times and Major League Baseball’s home run leader, twice.
Bautista also won the Hank Aaron Award twice for being the leagues top hitter and picked up the Silver Slugger award three times for being the best offensive player in the American League.
Bautista hit just below his career average (.255) in 2016 batting .234, hitting 22 homers, and picking up 69 RBI’s.
A highlight of the sluggers time in Toronto was the infamous bat flip in game 5 of a chippy American League Division Series against the Texas Rangers. Bautista hit a home run in the bottom of the seventh inning which gave the Blue Jays a 6-3 lead they would never relinquish.
Meanwhile, Victoria B.C. outfielder Michael Saunders is a former Jay. MLB Network Insider Ken Rosenthal is reporting that Saunders has signed a $9 million with a $1 million club buyout option with the Phillies.