February 27, 2016 by The Waterboy Report
By Luke Appia
The sports universe blew up when Jose Bautista had allegedly asked for a five year, 150 million dollar extension in order for him to remain with the Jays’ organization. Since then, Bautista had denies such allegations. However, in the spirit of debate, let’s assume the reports were true and Bautista would not settle for less than 30 million a year for the next five years.
Bautista has one year left on his five year, 65 million dollar contract which he signed back in 2011. Undoubtedly, Bautista has consistently put up stellar numbers since his breakout season in 2010 where he hit a league leading 54 home runs. He has been an all-star 6 consecutive seasons and has been such a great leader for this franchise for the past half decade.
Taking all of this into consideration, it would seem like a no brainer to give the 6 time all star and three time silver slugger the contract he desires. There’s no question if he continues performing at this rate, he would be worth every penny of a five year, 150 million dollar contract. However, when dishing out this sum of money, you have to be absolutely confident that the player will continue to produce to the extent he has in previous seasons.
Although Bautista has showed no signs of slowing down, there’s one huge factor that has to be taken into consideration when analyzing a player of his caliber. That factor is age. By the time his current contract expires and the 2017 season commences, Bautista will be 36 years old. Can the Jays organization risk tying up 150 million dollars in a player who will be under contract when he is 40 years old? Let’s take a glance at some other elite hitters that have continued to play professionally in their late thirties.
Paul Konerko has had an incredible 16 year tenure with the Chicago White Sox. From age 34 to 36, Konerko was an all-star. During these three seasons Konerko averaged 32 home runs and 97 RBIs a season all while maintaining an average of at least .298 in each of these three seasons. The very next season when Konerko turned 37, his performance significantly dwindled as he had just 12 home runs and 54 RBIs in 126 games while hitting just .244. In Konerko’s final season when he was 38 years old, hit had a pitiful season with 5 home runs and 22 RBIs in 81 games while owning a .207 batting average.
Another great example would be former Jays’ slugger Carlos Delgado. From age 25 to age 34, Delgado never had a season in which he hit less than 30 home runs. In 2007 at age 35, he hit just 24 home runs. 2009 was Delgado’s last professional season in which he was hampered by injury playing just 26 games. He was 37 years old at the time.
There are numerous other elite hitters who were not involved with performance enhancing drugs that saw their careers come to a screeching halt after being dominant during their early to mid thirties. There are various alternatives to fill the void of Bautista that will be of less risk and less investment. It may be a wise move for the Jays to allow Jose Bautista to explore other markets as the risk factor is simply too high when playing with 9 figures of salary.
By Statboy – Luke Appia