So there's about three million bucks difference between the Jays and José Bautista, which seems like a significant gap betwixt what the team thinks he's worth and what he thinks he's worth. Except for the fact that we suspect that neither party actually believes that's what Bautista is worth, nor would be willing to chisel those numbers into granite.
Given the process within which they find themselves, the Jays were smart not to allow themselves to go overly high in their offer to Bautista, lest he snatch it up and set his course firmly towards a mostly barren free agent class follow the 2011 season. Their offer might seem low or untenable, but they couldn't paint themselves into a corner where they had no leverage while negotiating a medium or longer term deal.
For that matter, Bautista's responding figure seems low as well, and likely below what he'll eventually ask for when a multi-year agreement is presented. (And much more palatable to an arbitrator, for that matter.) Given the Jason Werth horseshittery and Dan Uggla's deal, we're figuring that JoBau's desires will be in the five-year, $65 million range, and that the Jays' offer would be closer to three and $33 million.
(We're pulling numbers out of the air here, so don't take this as anything more than jibber jabber.)
The point here, we suppose, is not to get overly set on the actual figures that have been floated thus far. They are negotiation points, but not true statements of worth or assessments of player value. And following the logic of what we said yesterday about the meaning behind the small divide with Jason Frasor indicating a larger divide between the parties, we actually think that the largish gap between Bautista and the Jays is an indication that both sides are willing to push this process to the very end, and continue working towards a longer deal rather than a one-and-done.
Which, if you think kindly on JoBau, is good news indeed.