Jays, Bautista unable to reach deal

DAN ILIKA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:09 AM ET

In baseball, going 7-for-9 is considered an impressive feat but when the two misses could be home runs it might be a game changer.

Blue Jays management was unable to negotiate deals with 2010 home-run champ Jose Bautista, 30, and relief pitcher Jason Frasor, 33, by Tuesday’s deadline, meaning negotiations could be headed to arbitration hearings in February if deals cannot be met before then.

“We don’t play hardball with anybody,” Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos said Tuesday. “We’re very clear with the agents and the players. We have open lines of communication and dialogue. Our No. 1 goal in all negotiations is to get a deal done at all times. The reality of it is you don’t always come to an agreement.”

According to Anthopoulos, the ball club is firm in its stance regarding one-year deals and remains steadfast that such deals won’t be made after Tuesday’s deadline.

“Our policy is ... if we don’t have deals done by the 1 p.m. deadline we would not negotiate a one-year deal,” Anthopoulos said. “As a general policy if multi-year deals were to ever come about we certainly could continue to negotiate those. But those are obviously things that we keep private, keep quiet and keep in house.”

*As of Tuesday the two sides stand about $3-million US apart, with Bautista seeking $10.5-million US and the Jays offering $7.5-million US.*

And while Tuesday’s deadline passing without Bautista on board doesn’t necessarily mean this is the last year Toronto fans will see the slugger in a Jays uniform, it is enough to cause worry.

If the two sides don’t come to terms on a deal by February an arbitration hearing will be set for some time between Feb. 1-21, after which Bautista would be eligible for free agency following the 2011 season.

This scenario could be a worry, as it brings with it the possibility of whether or not Bautista wants to negotiate a multi-year deal before season’s end or test the free agent market.

The team was successful in avoiding salary arbitration with seven of its nine eligible players, but the inability to come to terms on deals with Bautista and Frasor could prove to be devastating blows to the Jays.

The last time the team went to a hearing was in 1997 with relief pitcher Bill Risley.


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