Right fielder Jose Bautista is set to become a free agent, but the Toronto Blue Jays will likely do what they can to keep their slugger around for as long as possible.

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Toronto Makes Keeping Bautista a Priority

Monday, Oct. 24

On Monday, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet reported the team is expected to extend qualifying offers to Bautista and designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion. As Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported Oct. 13, the qualifying offer will equal $17.2 million this year.

Scott MacArthur of TSN provided the latest update on Toronto’s plans for the two power hitters:

Bautista finished this past season with a .234 batting average and 22 home runs.

The 36-year-old missed time after suffering injuries to his toe and knee. He managed to play only 116 games during the regular season and appeared to be at less than 100 percent when he was in the lineup.

Prior to 2016, however, Bautista earned a spot in six straight All-Star Games, winning three Silver Slugger awards in that stretch. He also finished in the top 10 in MVP voting four times, totaling at least 35 home runs with 100 RBI in each of those years.

The right-hander has twice led the American League in home runs since joining the organization in 2009.

Whichever team signs the veteran outfielder will hope he can replicate his previous numbers after a down year that was mired by injuries.

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