“We’ve got to get him back”: Sports fans on whether the Blue Jays should pay up to keep Bautista

“We’ve got to get him back”: Sports fans on whether the Blue Jays should pay up to keep Bautista

Yeah, yeah, it’s basketball season and the Raptors are doing okay—but, for the moment, the best drama in Toronto sports is happening far away from the ACC. José Bautista, beloved bat flipper and current free agent, is still seeking a home, and the Jays are among the potential suitors. Bautista rejected a $17.2-million, one-year offer from the Jays in November, and it’s unclear whether he’s worth more than that amount. He’s 36, he was frequently injured last season, and re-signing him would likely cost the team a draft pick. Still, many Toronto fans aren’t quite ready to be rid of the great bearded one. We visited Real Sports Bar and Grill earlier this week to find out whether people think the Jays should pay up to keep Bautista in blue—and, if so, how much they think he’s worth.

Alexa Crerar

22, recruitment professional from Ajax

“He had the bat flip! I was at the game. It was so cool. I don’t even watch baseball that much, and it was life changing. I feel like he’s the face of the Blue Jays now. They should give him $30 million per year and a four-year contract.”

Danh Vo

32, salesperson from Brampton

“We’ve got to get him back. They should give him at least a four-year contract. Between $38 and $42 million, so he can retire and ride off into the sunset—and we can retire his number and jersey.”

Mike Carson

29, commercial oven operator from Brantford

“They probably shouldn’t sign him. It’s time to move on and begin a new era.”

Ivan Henriquez

46, salesperson from southern Etobicoke

“Bautista deserves to be back in Toronto. I can’t remember the actual figures, but he should get what he’s asking for. He deserves it for what he’s done for Toronto.”

Sean Molony

26, teaching student from Pickering

“He’s been the face of the franchise for the last whatever amount of years, and I think he’s still got some good years left. They should give him $20 million.”

Jackson Volck

25, military man from Brisbane, Australia

“He’s a very good hitter, and he’s one of the few baseball players I know, and I’m from Australia. They should give him the maximum, whatever it is.”

Robert Evong

30, heavy machine operator from Brampton

“We still need somebody in the outfield. Even though maybe defence isn’t his best attribute, he does have playoff experience, and he’s been loyal to this franchise for a long time. And he hits the ball, so why not sign him? They should give him $17.5 million per year.”

Anita Kapur

30, marketing professional from Markham

“They should sign Bautista, because they lost Edwin. And they should give him whatever he’s asking for.”

Michael Ramnarine

27, plumber from Etobicoke

“They shouldn’t sign him. He’s cost us too much money, and he’s not loyal to us. He wanted to leave, and he wanted more money. And he could have helped us keep Edwin.”

Dominic Correia

24, real estate administration student from Ajax

“They should sign him. He’s good for the team, I think the fans like him and the hype will help improve his game and the way he plays. They should give him the same as he’s getting paid right now.”

Brianne Correia

25, housekeeper from Queensland, Australia (originally from Whitby)

“They already lost Encarnacion, a big hitter, so they need to keep the ones that they have, including Bautista, unless they can find a really good rookie. They should give him 75 percent of what they were giving him before. His prime is over. He still hits, but not as much as before.”