MLB

Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista says he'd be 'stupid to leave' Toronto

Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista says he loves the city of Toronto and would like to stay with the club, but notes he will explore every option as he is set to enter free agency at season's end.

35-year-old outfielder is set to enter free agency this fall

Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista told Sports Illustrated he loves Toronto but will explore all options with his contract set to expire at season's end. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

"I'd be stupid to leave."

That's what Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista told Sports Illustrated in an interview published Tuesday.

Bautista, who is set to enter free agency at the end of the 2016 season, told the publication he will explore all his options, but also said "I love the city."

The 35-year-old put a hold on contract negotiations during spring training until the end of this season. It was rumoured he had requested $150 million US over five years from the club, though he has denied asking for that number. 

While he has made it clear he enjoys living and playing in Toronto, Bautista said he isn't against finding himself the best deal he can, telling Sports Illustrated he "will explore every single option, whether it happens or not with the new regime."

A full profile of Bautista will be published in the upcoming issue of Sports Illustrated.

Born in the Dominican Republic, the six-time MLB all-star found himself as a baseball player with Toronto after bouncing around the league with five different teams. 

Bautista was acquired by the Blue Jays in 2009 and near the end of the following season, he began to discover his potential offensively.

In 2010, under then-manager Cito Gaston, the right-fielder belted a career-high 54 home runs, which was tops in the majors, along with 124 runs batted in. He won the silver slugger award that season and has taken home the distinction two times after that. 

Bautista is in the final year of a six-year, $78 million US contract, which he signed in 2011 with the Blue Jays under Alex Anthopoulos, who was the team's general manager at the time.

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