Prolific slugger José Bautista signed one-day contract with the Toronto Blue Jays Friday afternoon to retire as a member of the team for which he played 10 seasons.
Speaking at the signing, Bautista said he appreciated the gesture and the one-day contract.
“I think everybody knew for a while that I had, you know, been retired, but this is the way to make it official,” he said. “What other way to make it better than just coming back here to Toronto and signing this one-day contract and making it official, official.
“So, I’m happy to be here and I can’t wait for tomorrow,” Bautista said.
Toronto Blue Jays President and CEO Mark Shapiro spoke about the 10 years that Bautista spent with the Blue Jays organization.
“You can think about some of the greatest attributes — that incredibly powerful swing, the cannon for an arm … the unbelievably intense work ethic, determination, commitment to his craft,” Shapiro said.
“It really wasn’t just a game, but it was a craft for José, the impact he made on so many with the relationships he formed throughout this organization and throughout this community.”
The contract signing comes one day before Bautista will be added to the team’s “Level of Excellence,” which honours the best players in the franchise’s history, at a ceremony when the Jays face off against the Chicago Cubs at the Rogers Centre.
“There aren’t many names as synonymous with Blue Jays baseball as José Bautista, and it is our great honour that he will officially retire in a Blue Jays jersey,” said Mark Shapiro, president and CEO of the Jays.
“On behalf of a generation of Blue Jays fans that had the privilege of watching his clutch moments on the field and inspiring work ethic — thank you, José, for a mesmerizing decade representing the Toronto Blue Jays.”
Bautista arrived in Toronto from Pittsburgh in a trade that sent Robinzon Diaz to the Pirates.
Bautista went on to represent the Blue Jays in six all-star games. He set the single-season franchise record with 54 home runs in 2010 to lead Major League Baseball and also slammed an MLB-leading 43 homers in 2011.
Only Carlos Delgado, with 336, has hit more homers in Blue Jays history than Bautista’s 288.
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