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Longtime slugger Jose Bautista told Yahoo Sports on Thursday he is not considering retirement, dismissing a report that suggested the slow free agent market has caused him to think about stepping away from the game.
“Right now I’m just considering my options, and it depends on two criteria,” Bautista said in a phone conversation. “That’s winning and making sure that my family’s in a good situation.”
Bautista, 37, said he has guaranteed major league offers on the table but is weighing the desire of the teams to contend as well as how the location will impact his three young daughters.
A report in FanRag said Bautista could retire coming off a season in which he hit .203/.308/.366 with 23 home runs and 65 RBIs. Bautista denied that is an option and said: “I’m comfortable believing that a team that wants to win will see how I can positively impact their ballclub and give me a phone call.”
Bautista is among the scores of free agents who remain jobless with the regular season three weeks away. The market for players in their late 30s has constricted in recent offseasons, and disincentives in the most recent collective-bargaining agreement for teams to spend has left players such as Bautista in limbo.
“I don’t know what to think of it,” Bautista said.
Following a middling first five seasons in the major leagues, Bautista blossomed into a superstar with the Toronto Blue Jays, winning a pair of American League home run titles and going to six consecutive All-Star Games. Over his 14 seasons, he has hit .250/.362/.480 with 331 home runs, plus six more in the postseason, none more famous than his titanic, bat-flipping shot in the 2015 playoffs.