Inbox: Could Blue Jays, Joey Bats reach compromise?

What do you think makes the most sense for the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista? A) One-year deal with a high salary. B) Multiyear contract with a lower average annual salary. C) Not bring him back at all. — Josh, Waterdown, Ontario

The problem is that what makes the most sense for the Blue Jays doesn’t make the most sense for Bautista. From Bautista’s perspective, it’s logical to hold out hope as long as possible for a multiyear deal. At age 36, there’s incentive to maximize the guaranteed money and prevent against an injury further diminishing his value. From Toronto’s side, it needs to capitalize on the market and limit long-term risk.

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There are conflicting interests here, but it’s still possible the two sides will reach a compromise. Toronto might want the compensatory Draft pick, and Bautista might want that multiyear deal. But if he’s still unsigned in the weeks leading up to Spring Training, can either side really afford not to work something out?

To answer the question, a one-year deal in the range of the $17.2 million qualifying offer might be the best solution for both parties. The Blue Jays would get the middle-of-the-order bat they need, and if the season didn’t pan out, the club would look to deal Bautista — who would have 10/5 no-trade rights (10 years in the Majors, five with the same team) — to recoup some of the value from the lost compensatory pick.

Do you believe that the Blue Jays ever had any intention to sign Edwin Encarnacion, or was the offer only made because they knew that he would not accept it that early in free agency? — James H., Fredericton, New Brunswick

I’m all for a good conspiracy theory, but when you look at the facts, this one doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Encarnacion was offered four years and $80 million just before the start of free agency. Sure, it was impossible to know at the time that it would be the highest bid, but even then, there was no denying it was a hard, competitive offer. Teams don’t just put $80 million on the table, cross their fingers and hope the deal gets turned down.

It’s certainly fair to criticize the approach each side took during these negotiations. Encarnacion received some heat for being so vocal about wanting to return, only to then turn down a competitive offer in favor of free agency. Toronto …

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