The Toronto Blue Jays are still hoping to sign Edwin Encarnacion, while he’s entertaining interest from the Houston Astros, New York Yankees, Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox, and probably a couple of other NL teams.
Many thought the Blue Jays would be giving up on Encarnacion due to his demands. They offered him a reported $80 million over four years before signing Kendrys Morales on a three-year, $33 million contract. Turns out that doesn’t kill their chances or re-signing the slugger, only makes it more difficult to compete with other teams, with Encarnacion probably looking for a $100 million contract, over four or five years, it doesn’t matter to him.
Despite Encarnacion not being an everyday first baseman, teams aren’t going to let someone who has averaged 38.6 home runs a season since 2012, including hitting 42 in 2016 while leading the AL in RBIs (127) to wait around for too long. Even though teams are right to worry about his ability to play defense in a few years (he’ll be turning 34 very soon), his defensive metrics at first base are surprisingly average (a good thing) and an AL team can hide him at DH for most of the season, unless he stops hitting well too.
It’s difficult seeing the Blue Jays actually getting Encarnacion back (he’s been there since 2009). They are planning on making a few more free agent signings, including two in the outfield and at least one in the bullpen. In terms of slugging, they might have to settle for the potential Morales brings with him, with a 30-home run season in 2016 to back him up. Encarnacion has been a huge part of the Blue Jays return to the playoffs over the last two years, but he’ll probably be too expensive down the road for the Blue Jays to retain him, despite the difficulty of watching all those runs disappear.