Edwin Encarnacion Rumors

Non-Tenders Contributing With New Teams

Every winter teams non-tender players when they would rather risk losing them to another team than go through the potentially expensive arbitration process. Most non-tenders don’t come back to haunt their former clubs, but they definitely have the potential to do so.

Teams non-tendered over 50 players last offseason and a handful of them have added value for new organizations. Here’s a breakdown of which 2010 non-tenders are contributing in 2011:

Outfielders

  • Tony Gwynn Jr., Dodgers (non-tendered by Padres) – Gwynn has a .255/.312/.333 line with 15 stolen bases in 252 plate appearances for the Dodgers and has played all three outfield positions.
  • Scott Hairston, Mets (non-tendered by Padres) – Hairston has a robust .264/.331/.527 line with seven homers in a part-time role for the Mets.

Infielders

  • Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays (technically non-tendered by Athletics) – Encarnacion has a .277/.326/.446 line this year, including an .894 OPS since June 1st.

Catchers

  • Ronny Paulino, Mets (non-tendered by Marlins) – Paulino has been a serviceable part-time backstop for the Mets, posting a .293/.328/.374 line in 187 trips to the plate.
  • Russell Martin, Yankees (non-tendered by Dodgers) – Martin has 12 homers and a .228/.324/.383 line in 349 plate appearances. He's tenth among all MLB catchers with 2.1 wins above replacement.

Right-Handed Relievers

  • Matt Albers, Red Sox (non-tendered by Orioles) – The right-hander has a 2.31 ERA with 9.1 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 46 2/3 innings out of the bullpen. Albers is easily having his best season yet and all he cost was $875K. He's under team control through 2013.
  • Todd Coffey, Nationals (non-tendered by Brewers) – The big righty has a 4.40 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 45 innings so far in 2011. The numbers are solid, but not so good that the Brewers have much to second-guess themselves on.
  • Alfredo Aceves, Red Sox (non-tendered by Yankees) – Aceves has a 3.18 ERA with 5.3 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 76 1/3 innings as a swingman for the Red Sox this year. Considering the injuries the Boston pitching staff has sustained, you could argue that Aceves has been one of their best offseason additions.
  • Jose Veras, Pirates (non-tendered by Marlins) – Veras has a 3.19 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 53 2/3 innings this year and has been a key weapon in Clint Hurdle's bullpen.
  • Dustin Moseley, Padres (non-tendered by Yankees) – Moseley has a 3.30 ERA with 4.8 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 20 starts. Now on the DL, Moseley has completed a career-high 120 innings.
  • Taylor Buchholz, Mets (technically non-tendered by Red Sox) – When healthy, Buchholz has been effective, posting a 3.12 ERA with a 26K/7BB ratio in 26 innings. He has been on the disabled list since June.
  • Joel Peralta, Rays (non-tendered by Nationals) – The 35-year-old leads the American League in appearances (55) and has a 3.68 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 after 51 1/3 innings in Tampa Bay.

Left-Handed Relievers

  • George Sherrill, Braves (non-tendered by Dodgers) – Sherrill has a 3.38 ERA with a 36K/11BB ratio in 32 innings for his new club. He has mostly faced left-handed hitters.

Blue Jays Notes: Lawrie, Snider, Encarnacion

Alex Anthopoulos says Brett Lawrie has done everything the Blue Jays have asked of him, but the GM doesn't assume the top prospect will succeed instantly given that some of baseball's best young players take months or even years to thrive in the Major Leagues. Anthopoulos discussed Lawrie and other Blue Jays this morning with Jeff Blair of Sportsnet Radio FAN 590 in Toronto. Here are the details:

  • Though Lawrie is "not a finished product by any stretch," the Blue Jays want to get a look at him for seven weeks so they have a sense of how he matches up against MLB pitching.
  • The Blue Jays haven't talked about moving Lawrie to second base and they view him as their long-term third baseman.
  • Travis Snider, who was optioned to the minor leagues to create roster space for Lawrie, is "100%" a part of the Blue Jays' future. "He doesn't need a change of scenery," Anthopoulos told Blair.
  • Edwin Encarnacion, who has a .293/.359/.530 line since the beginning of June, still "has the chance to be an impact bat," Anthopoulos says. The Blue Jays have a $3.5MM option for Encarnacion in 2012 and aren't ready to give up on him.

East Notes: Marlins, Anderson, Encarnacion, Phillies

Here's the latest from the eastern side of the baseball map…

  • Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest tells MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez that the team wants to "concentrate on the season right now" and wouldn't comment on whether the Fish would offer Edwin Rodriguez a contract extension before the year is up.  Rodriguez, who took over as Florida's manager last June, is only on a one-year deal.
  • The Yankees released Trenton Thunder reliever Brian Anderson, according to Thunder reporter Mike Ashmore (on Twitter). The former outfielder was on the DL with a biceps issue.
  • The Yankees also released southpaw Andrew Sisco, according to the International League's transactions page.  Sisco posted a 5.18 ERA in 151 relief appearances for the Royals and White Sox between 2005-07 and hasn't been back to the majors since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2008.  Sisco, 28, had a 1.88 ERA and a 9.4 K/9 rate in 16 games at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season, though he'd also allowed 12 walks in 14 1/3 innings pitched.
  • Dave Cameron of Fangraphs calls for the Blue Jays to release Edwin Encarnacion or at least permanently relegate him to the bench.  "[Encarnacion is] an absolute disaster in the field, and his bat simply doesn’t even come close to making up for it," Cameron writes.
  • J.C. Ramirez, one of the prospects the Phillies received in the Cliff Lee trade, has pitched well at Double-A this season, writes Jim Salisbury for Baseball America.
  • It looks as if Domonic Brown will remain with the Phillies when Shane Victorino returns from the DL, reports Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.  This could mean the Phils send John Mayberry Jr. down to the minors, or perhaps Rule 5 draft pick Michael Martinez, who would of course have to be offered back to the Nationals. 
  • The Orioles are expected to release right-hander Ryan Drese, reports Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com.  Drese, 35, last pitched in the majors in 2006 and currently has a 6.55 ERA in nine games (six of them starts) for Triple-A Norfolk.
  • Overpaying for a designated hitter is "a new market inefficiency," writes Jason Collette of the DRaysBay blog.  Collette suggests the Rays (and other teams) should look to fill the DH spot with the same low-cost approach that the Rays used to rebuild their bullpen this winter.

MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith also contributed to this post



Anthopoulos Talks Hill, Encarnacion, Wells, Arencibia

Alex Anthopoulos says he has has 'tinkered' and 'talked' about acquiring a third baseman and won't rule out potential acquisitions. But the Blue Jays GM remains confident in Jose Bautista's ability to play the position all season long. The defending AL home run champ played 48 games at third last year and spent 225 games at the hot corner for the Pirates from 2007-08, so the Blue Jays say they're set at third.

Last year's third baseman, Edwin Encarnacion, will combine with Adam Lind to play first base and DH. The Blue Jays are hopeful that Lind can handle first defensively and they're optimistic about Encarnacion's power potential. Anthopoulos says he thinks Encarnacion has "one more gear in there" and while he hesitated before comparing him to Bautista, the GM says he can see Encarnacion hitting 30 homers or more in 2011.

The Blue Jays are also looking for a bounceback season from Aaron Hill, and they have a decision to make before the season starts. The team can either exercise Hill's 2012-14 options before the coming season begins or they can wait until the offseason, at which point they'll be able to exercise his 2012-13 options or just his 2012 option. Anthopoulos declined to elaborate on the team's plan, but did emphasize that the sides aren't bound to Hill's current deal.

“There’s a lot of flexibility,” Anthopoulos told a crowd of about 500 Blue Jays fans at last night's State of the Franchise event. “We’re not tied into anything. There’s nothing that prevents us from sitting down with Aaron and his agent and saying we want to do a five-year deal, four-year deal, six-year deal.”

Anthopoulos also discussed one multiyear deal that has become the responsibility of another organization. He declined to confirm reports that the Blue Jays are sending $5MM to the Angels as part of the Vernon Wells trade. 

"The deal that was announced [Wells straight up for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera] was the deal that was agreed to," he said.

The Blue Jays have money to spend now that they've unloaded most or all of Wells' deal and they remain open to making acquisitions. Anthopoulos, a Montreal native and former Expos employee, says he can relate to fans who want a bona fide slugger like Vladimir Guerrero.

"I understand," Anthopoulos said. "He was one of my favorite players growing up and he's someone that I admire." 

However, Anthopoulos exaplined that he doesn't want to acquire players who get playing time in place of developing players. For example, the Blue Jays intend to provide their top catching prospect with the chance to show major league pitchers why he won the Pacific Coast League MVP last year.

“We really don’t want to get in the way of J.P. Arencibia because we do believe that he’s an important component of this team” Anthopoulos said. “He has nothing more to prove down [in the minors]. He needs to get an opportunity to play up here and we might have to let him live through some struggles early on.”

If the Blue Jays don't spend on free agents or through trades, they say they'll have more to spend on player development, the amateur draft and international free agency. Amateur spending will not end the Blue Jays' 17-year playoff drought immediately, but it's promising news for fans of a team that has seven of the first 78 selections in the upcoming June draft.


Blue Jays Sign Edwin Encarnacion

The Blue Jays announced that they signed Edwin Encarnacion to a one-year, $2.5MM contract that includes a club option for $3.5MM in 2012. The team says Encarnacion will play first base/DH, instead of third base, where he spent last season.

The A's claimed the infielder off of waivers  from the Blue Jays only to non-tender him a month later. Encarnacion would have been due for a raise from the $4.75MM salary he earned in 2010 if the A's or Blue Jays had gone to arbitration with him.

Encarnacion, who turns 28 next month, hit .244/.305/.482 with 21 homers in 367 plate appearances for the Blue Jays last year. He surged at the end of the season, homering in his last four games. He has a career .266/.373/.474 line against left-handed pitchers, so he could spell Adam Lind against lefties given Lind's struggles against southpaws.

Unless the Blue Jays intend to play Jose Bautista at third, they still have an opening at the hot corner. The Rays and Indians also had some interest in Encarnacion. Wasserman Media Group represents Encarnacion.


Rays Interested In Edwin Encarnacion

The Rays are interested in Edwin Encarnacion, tweets Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse, seemingly as a designated hitter/first base option.  Encarnacion, typically a third baseman, was non-tendered by the Athletics this month.  He hit 21 home runs in 367 plate appearances this year for the Blue Jays.


Indians Notes: Colon, Encarnacion, Choo, Punto

The Indians have been quiet this offseason, but GM Chris Antonetti is making progress on potential moves, as MLB.com's Jordan Bastian and others report:

  • The Indians have some interest in bringing Bartolo Colon back to Cleveland, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes (on Twitter). The right-hander pitched for the Tribe from 1997-2002 and is back on the radar and attempting a comeback. He last pitched in the majors for the 2009 White Sox.  Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer disagrees, shooting down the idea on Twitter.
  • The Indians' interest in Edwin Encarnacion appears to have cooled, Bastian notes on Twitter.
  • The Indians will discuss the possibility of a Shin-Soo Choo extension with agent Scott Boras this offseason. I looked at Choo's case for an extension back in September.
  • Antonetti said the club could have interest in adding an infielder. They are interested in Adam Everett, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark.
  • The Tribe met a number of agents today, including the representatives for free agent infielder Nick Punto.
  • The Indians are close to signing former Rockies catcher Paul Phillips to a minor league contract.

American League Non-Tenders

This post will list all the American League players non-tendered today, but the best place to track all 200+ arbitration eligible players is our new non-tender tracker.


Anthopoulos Talks Encarnacion, Buck

Alex Anthopoulos spoke to Jeff Blair of The Fan 590 before his plane took off for Orlando yesterday, and the Blue Jays GM said he was trying to get a signing done right before the radio show call.  Some have speculated on Manny Ramirez, who's been hanging out in Toronto lately, while others point out that at the very least the Jays would wait a week until after the White Sox have declined to offer him arbitration.  At this point we know Manny likes the Blue Jays but not whether interest is mutual.  It does appear Manny needs the Jays more than they need him.  If a Blue Jays signing of any kind is to happen before the 23rd, it'd have to be a free agent not ranked as a Type A.

Anthopoulos went on to say that his talks with agents over the last week suggest the free agent market might move faster than in years past, as people "try to jump out early and get things done."

On the topic of Edwin Encarnacion, Anthopoulos explained that the third baseman is in line for an arbitration raise of $1-2MM on top of this year's $4.75MM salary.  That salary, plus Encarnacion's desire to play every day, wasn't a fit for the Jays.  Encarnacion was claimed by the Athletics, but he could still be non-tendered on December 2nd.  Anthopoulos has not closed the door in the event that happens.

Anthopoulos described the market for John Buck as "very, very strong" after talking to his agents at ACES.  He says Buck is "sitting on years and dollars that might be a little steep for us," but that the catcher's agents will give the Jays a chance to match before he signs.  We saw extra contract years tossed around for multiple free agent catchers last year; could a 30-year-old Buck find a three-year deal?


A’s Claim Edwin Encarnacion

The A's claimed Edwin Encarnacion off of waivers from the Blue Jays, according to the teams. The third baseman hit 21 home runs last year, more than anyone on the A's. Encarnacion batted .244/.305/.482 and reached the 20-homer plateau for the second time in his six-year career. Oakland GM Billy Beane, who acquired David DeJesus earlier in the week, continues his busy offseason search for bats.

The Blue Jays lost Encarnacion for nothing, but that's no surprise. The 27-year-old earned $4.75MM in 2010 and could have earned even more through arbitration in 2011, so he was a non-tender candidate.

Another non-tender candidate, Kevin Kouzmanoff, now faces an uncertain future in Oakland. Encarnacion has played all but nine innings of his big league career at third base, Kouzmanoff’s position. The A’s also have Conor Jackson, Rajai Davis, Coco Crisp, Ryan Sweeney, Jack Cust and DeJesus, so there won’t be many at bats to spare at DH. It appears that Kouzmanoff’s days in Oakland are numbered, especially since he and Encarnacion couldn't platoon (both handle lefties better than righties).

The Blue Jays, meanwhile, have an opening at third base. Jose Bautista played 48 games at the hot corner in 2010, John McDonald can play third and prospect Brad Emaus has experience there, too. However, it seems likely that the Blue Jays will consider acquiring a third baseman through trades or free agency.