Jose Bautista remained on the free agent market for longer than expected and the slugger says he had his choice between five or six destinations.
Interest in Bautista, who maintained contact with the Toronto Blue Jays throughout the season, only picked up after the calendar turned to 2017.
"I was trying not to pay attention as much as I could," he said. "Sometimes it's inevitable. Your friends and family care for you. They pay attention, they call you, they try to talk. That stuff happens. But for the most part I wasn't really dwelling on it. I was just hoping that phone would ring and it would be a bunch of people trying to show their love. A few did. Not as many as I was expecting but ultimately I had my choice between five or six places and I always wanted to come back so I chose to come back."
Bautista's contract includes a mutual option for $17 million in 2018 that would trigger a vesting option based on cumulative games played worth $20 million for 2019.
"It's a potential three-year deal," said Bautista. "Don't get me wrong, every player wants to have a long-term commitment. (But) that definitely shows that I want to end my career here, so we'll see what happens. It just shows that both sides are willing to be committed in the long run as long as certain scenarios play out and those are defined in the contract."