We already knew Alex Anthopoulos could shed salary, and now we know he can spend a little too. The Jays GM made his first big money move today, avoiding arbitration with Jose Bautista by locking the 54-homer man up with a five-year, $64 million contract. Man, and I thought yesterday’s minor league deal with Scott Podsednik was big news.
Is Bautista worth it? Well, a player that nearly doubled his career home run mark in one season (he came in with 59 homers in his first six years) is bound to come with question, but I’m all for rewarding a guy that had a breakout year, likes being in Toronto and has publically said on several occasions that this is where he wants to remain. We’ll likely get an idea already early in 2011 whether or not he’s worth all he got, but hey, he’s already having a much, much better season than Miguel Cabrera.
Aside from his 54 homers in 2010, Bautista was an altogether headier player, drawing 100 walks (second-best in the AL), reaching base at a .378 clip (10th) and finishing with an OPS of .995, which was good for third behind Cabrera and MVP Josh Hamilton. Toss in 12 assists in just 113 starts in right field and the versatility to play either corner infield position and we’ve got a pretty good player. I’ll take Bautista, even at $64 million.
Final figures aside, it was a safe move on both ends, with Anthopoulos and the Jays likely saving in the event Bautista puts up similar numbers and Bautista putting himself in fine position in case of a bad year or injury.