Craig Calcaterra

Jose Bautista Blue Jays
Associated Press

Jose Bautista reportedly wants five years and $150 million


UPDATE: Bautista is denying the report of his demand for $150 million, calling it “false.” Could this be something someone with the Jays leaked in order to lay the groundwork for them throwing up their hands and saying “hey, we couldn’t sign him!” Or is Bautista being cagey himself? As usual, we probably won’t know until the negotiations, or lack thereof, run their course.

12:45 PM: Jose Bautista is entering the final year of his five-year, $65 million contract. It has proven to be a bargain and, as we learned yesterday, Bautista is not prepared to give the Blue Jays a hometown discount on his next deal.

There hasn’t been a proper negotiation between Bautista and the Jays, but it has been reported that Bautista told the Jays what it would take to get him to sign an extension right now. Today Rick Westhead of reports that Bautista is asking for a five-year extension worth around $30 million per season.

That’s $150 million for a guy for his age 36-40 seasons. Which is . . . steep. Yes, Bautista has been great for several years now, posting a .945 OPS with an average of 38 homers per season since 2010, but that kind of financial commitment to a player Bautista’s age seems like a big, big ask.

Depending on how the Jays do this year, this could be a running storyline all season long.

The Orioles may have issues with Yovani Gallardo’s physical


The Orioles have a bit of a history of being tougher when it comes to physicals of prospective free agents. The famously came to an agreement with Grant Balfour in the 2013-14 offseason, only to back out, leaving Balfour angry and $3 million lighter in the wallet after signing with the Rays. The same thing happened with them and Tyler Colvin that offseason and it reportedly played a part in Bronson Arroyo deciding to sign with Arizona instead of Baltimore.

The O’s tough-grading doctors could be at it again, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo, who says that “questions have come up with Yovani Gallardo‘s physical with Baltimore. Status of deal is unclear.”

Gallardo and the Orioles agreed to a three-year deal worth $35 million over the weekend but, as always, such deals are pending a physical. Gallardo posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings last year, but his strikeout rate reached a career low 15.3 percent while his walk rate was a mediocre 8.6 percent. Signs of arm issues? Just noise in the data?

Stay tuned to see what the O’s say about it all.

Nationals’ Zimmerman defends himself against PED allegations


VIERA, Fla. (AP) Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman vigorously defended himself against performance-enhancing drug allegations made in a documentary that aired in December.

Zimmerman said he never heard of or met the people featured in the Al-Jazeera America documentary, “The Dark Side: Secrets of Sports Doping.” He and Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard in January filed a defamation suit against the network, which Zimmerman said is the strongest way to prove his innocence.

The organization’s longest tenured player said he was willing to open up his entire life, including phone and email records, to discovery as part of the defamation suit. Even though Zimmerman acknowledged it’s difficult for public figures to successfully sue for defamation, he felt it was his responsibility to go through the process to clear his name.