TODAY, 9:13pm: In further comments, Kinzer says that he does not expect a deal to be completed before the Winter Meetings, though he notes that could change if the right offer hits the table. (Via Mark Berman of FOX 26; Twitter links.)
While there has been some internet chatter suggesting that there’s a deal in place with the Astros, Kinzer denies the rumors. As Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweeted, there is nothing in place with Houston. Still, Kinzer does tell Berman that the Astros are a “great fit” from Encarnacion’s perspective, and acknowledges that there is interest from the team.
6:16pm: There’s “nothing imminent” on Encarnacion, Kinzer tells MLB Network’s Jon Morosi (links to Twitter). More than one team is still involved on the veteran slugger, per his agent, with multiple offers on the table.
The Astros and Yankees are believed still to be in the hunt, Morosi adds.
YESTERDAY: Edwin Encarnacion’s free agency may not last much longer, as the slugger’s agent, Paul Kinzer, told TSN’s Rick Westhead today that his client will probably agree to a contract later this week or early next week. Kinzer told Westhead that the Blue Jays remain in the picture and have been “showing Edwin the most love,” though the agent didn’t handicap any one team’s chances of getting a deal done. According to Kinzer, three teams have told him that they’re waiting for the resolution of the collective bargaining negotiations before making a formal offer. He added that two teams have made “serious” offers to Encarnacion already.
[Related: Edwin Encarnacion’s Free Agent Profile]
One team that doesn’t appear to be in the running for Encarnacion is the Red Sox, though, as WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford writes that a source has informed him that Boston “probably” won’t be a finalist for Encarnacion’s imposing bat. Boston remains focused on adding a shorter-term option to fill its DH vacancy, according to Bradford.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reported earlier today that the Astros bid big on Yoenis Cespedes before he agreed to return to the Mets, and his colleague, Jerry Crasnick, added that the Astros are still a possible landing spot for Encarnacion (Twitter links). While a big bid on Cespedes doesn’t necessarily indicate that the ’Stros are willing to make a market-beating offer for Encarnacion, their willingness to make a competitive bid for a player that agreed to a $110MM deal does suggest that they can at least afford to make a legitimate play for Encarnacion.
It remains unclear which teams have made the aforementioned serious offers to Encarnacion. The Blue Jays reportedly offered Encarnacion about $80MM over four years earlier this month, but that offer seems light to constitute the “serious” adjective utilized by Kinzer, considering the agent’s previous comments implying that a five-year deal and/or a $25MM annual value both seemed reasonable. Furthermore, Kinzer tells Westhead that he hasn’t talked dollars with Blue Jays brass since that initial proposal. The Yankees have also been connected to Encarnacion on multiple occasions, and the Rangers have reportedly reached out to Kinzer as well, though the extent of Texas’ interest isn’t known at this time.
Encarnacion, like most agents, should be reasonably expected to end up with the highest bidder, but Kinzer did imply that there will be other factors at play when speaking to Westhead. “We won’t put any restrictions on any offer like years or anything,” he explained. “[Encarnacion is] going to decide where he’s comfortable. One of the things we have to look at is the big difference in the tax base between some of the teams that are interested. Plus, there’s a comfort level we need to consider.”