I'm certain Alex Anthopoulos doesn't want to end the 13 consecutive years
I've never been to salary arbitration court, but I'm willing to bet it's about as exciting as a root canal. All I can imagine is Judge Judy presiding over the courtroom and deciding over the fate of player's salaries.
All of the Blue Jays remaining arbitration cases are fairly straight forward, except for one; Jose Bautista's. Back in October, yours truly estimated that $5 to $6 million dollars would be a reasonable raise for Jose Bautista, but some are speculating he could fetch as much as $10 million dollars.
While most baseball players prefer to avoid salary arbitration like the plague, I can imagine Jose Bautista is welcoming it with open arms. After that milestone year in 2010, he'll want to get every single last penny he deserves, even if it means showing up to the hearings himself (in his snappy suits from Gotstyle, nonetheless).
This was alluded to on Pitcher's Best Friend post on Jose Bautista's 2011 salary, but I honestly think if the Blue Jays were working on a contract extension for Jose Bautista, then they would've done it by now.
Rather than let the arbitrators have the power to decide what JoBau would make this year, the Jays could maintain control of the situation by signing now to a lower base salary for this year, but provide the guarantee for multiple years.
However, Rob made a good point saying that AA is very unpredictable and one can never truly predict what the Silent Assassin is up to until the deadline has arrived.
If the Blue Jays do not reach an agreement with Bautista prior to the deadline, I think we can pretty much wave bye bye to Bautista, whether it be him walking via free agency or a move at the trade deadline.
I can't see them coming to an agreement mid-season, and leaving contract negotiations until the end of the season is extremely dangerous. The temptations of free agency combined with the vultures overhead might just be too seducing for Jose Bautista to say no.
Money is not an issue on the open market, and the Blue Jays will not be able to compete with offers from other clubs promising riches, championships, and full access to a personal beard trimmer at all times.
I can understand the logic behind waiting to see just how much of an outlier year for 2010 was for Jose Bautista. If he comes back down to earth this coming season, then his value comes down. But if he puts up numbers that were even half of what he achieved in 2010, then he will be a highly touted free agent.
Trust me, I want Jose Bautista to stick around in Toronto just as much as the next guy, but if the two sides can't work out a deal before the clock strikes midnight tomorrow, then we might not even be left with a pumpkin to remember Jose Bautista's Cinderella season by.