The Blue Jays are still at the top of the list of free agent slugger Edwin Encarnacion, agent Paul Kinzer said in an appearance on Sportsnet 590 (audio available here). Toronto has made an offer, though it “wasn’t quite where [Encarnacion’s camp] wanted to be,” and it seems that there’s still some hope of a reunion. There are other suitors, but Kinzer notes that Encarnacion will weigh matters beyond the pure contract and that “there’s a short list of where he would go to.” Kinzer noted that the market has thrown some “curves” thus far. The Red Sox have been somewhat less aggressive than had been expected, the agent acknowledged, though he noted that some unexpected teams have been in talks. While it seems there’s a lot of ground still to cover, Kinzer suggested that a signing could come together by the start of the Winter Meetings — and might well take place sooner.
Here are a few more notes on some prominent free agents:
- The Astros have serious interest in free agent outfielder/DH Carlos Beltran, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. The Rangers still have Beltran on their radar, too, per that report. And the Red Sox remain intrigued by Beltran, but view him as one of many possible candidates, per Rob Bradford of WEEI.com (via Twitter). Boston is still casting a “wide net” in seeking a new DH. All told, it seems that the 39-year-old will have multiple options as he chases an elusive World Series title in what will be his 20th major league season.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman downplayed any connection between his organization and top free agent slugger Yoenis Cespedes, as Feinsand reports. Cashman acknowledges that there has been some contact, but characterized it as more of a routine opening of a channel to obtain medical information and perhaps pursue dialogue in the future.
- The Mets had “preliminary talks” involving free agents Jose Bautista and Dexter Fowler over the last several days, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post (via Twitter). But the team remains focused on trying to engineer the return of Cespedes. GM Sandy Alderson met with his agent yesterday, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com tweets. Meanwhile, rival organizations have reached out to New York to ask about the availability of lefty-swinging outfielders Michael Conforto, Curtis Granderson, and Jay Bruce, per Marc Carig of Newsday (Twitter links). It’s all supposition at this point, but there does seem to be some sense in the idea of signing a right-handed-hitting outfielder while dealing a lefty. The three possible targets noted above all hit from the right side (with Fowler also switching to the left side to face righties).
- There have been some conflicting signals of late as to how interested the Mets are in bringing back veteran righty Bartolo Colon, but GM Sandy Alderson said today that there’s still interest, as MLB.com’s Barry Bloom reports. Still, it doesn’t seem as if there’s any sense of urgency, with Alderson suggesting the pitching market will have more clarity in a few weeks’ time. If the Mets don’t push to bring back Colon, the division-rival Braves may be there to step in, as MLB.com’s Mark Bowman tweets that Atlanta has ongoing interest. (Of course, the team already landed an over-40 pitcher today.)