Edwin Encarnacion Rumors
General manager Alex Anthopoulos reviewed the Blue Jays’ on-field progress and discussed a variety of off-field issues in an extended interview with Drew Fairservice of the Score. Here are some highlights from their conversation:
- It’s becoming more difficult for teams to get good trade value for players with one or two remaining years of team control, Anthopoulos said. “Now it is starting to shift a little bit, it is three years of control or four years of control,” he said. Players just one year away from free agency don’t have as much trade value now, according to the GM.
- The Blue Jays entered the season with a payroll in the $80MM range and Anthopoulos described it as “a solid payroll to have” (Toronto’s Opening Day payroll was $83.7MM according to Cot's Baseball Contracts and $75.5MM according to USA Today). He repeated that the team can increase payroll, but noted that “it isn’t going to go up for the sake of going up.”
- Draft pick compensation has become less of a consideration for the Blue Jays given the franchise’s minor league depth and recent changes to baseball’s collective bargaining agreement. “Now we are more interested in guys who will be around for a while and have some swing-and-miss stuff,” Anthopoulos said of potential relief acquisitions.
- There’s no formula for extensions, Anthopoulos said. “It always comes down to price.” The Blue Jays discussed a possible extension for Edwin Encarnacion last offseason and ultimately signed him this summer.
- Part of the reason the Blue Jays generally avoid long-term contracts is the unpredictable nature of baseball. “Players change, things change,” Anthopoulos told Fairservice. “Players get hurt and you tend to forget six or seven years is an awfully long time.” The GM added that it sometimes makes sense to wait a little longer before locking a player up, even if it means paying a bit more.
- Anthopoulos knows he wasn’t “hired to react to the whims and the emotions” of a 162-game schedule, but it doesn’t mean he enjoys being calculated all of the time. “To be honest with you, I get sick of having to be so guarded,” he said. “It is exhausting. I know it is important to stay consistent but it is exhausting.”
It was on this day in 1997 that Roger Clemens struck out 16 Red Sox batters to lead the Blue Jays to a 3-1 win at Fenway Park. It was Clemens' first appearance in Boston since he signed a free agent contract with Toronto the previous winter, and there were some definite hard feelings -- Clemens punctuated several of his strikeouts with glances up towards the Fenway luxury boxes and then-Sox GM Dan Duquette.
Here's the latest from around the AL East...
- Speaking of Duquette, the current Orioles executive VP tells Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun that he is looking for a hitter with on-base skills to bat first or second in the Orioles' lineup. Connolly speculates that Shane Victorino could fit that bill though the O's would have to outbid several other teams if the Phillies made Victorino available.
- Duquette didn't completely rule out dealing a major prospect like Manny Machado or Dylan Bundy, but such a deal is very unlikely. "They can be really good major leaguers for a really long time,” Duquette said. “That’s the way I look at it. I don’t know that we want to send them to another ballclub for two months or 10 starts of a pitcher. I don’t think that’s the kind of trade we’d want to make. But we want to advance our team in the pennant race.” (Quotes courtesy of Connolly's Twitter feed).
- Evan Longoria's recovery timeline will "influence" what the Rays will do at the trade deadline, Andrew Friedman told reporters, including Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune (Twitter link). Longoria is expected back in August though the third baseman has already experienced one setback during his recovery from a torn hamstring.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told reporters (including Sportsnet's Shi Davidi) that with Edwin Encarnacion's extension settled, the team can now focus on acquiring pitching. Anthopoulos also said he "didn't have any intention of trading" Encarnacion, though ESPN's Jayson Stark reported earlier today that the Jays were checking on trade interest in Encarnacion just last week.
- The Yankees have wrapped up negotiations with first-round draft pick Ty Hensley and are waiting to hear if the right-hander will accept their offer before tomorrow's draft signing deadline, reports Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger.
- The Red Sox are almost obligated to be active at the trade deadline, says ESPN's Tim Kurkjian during a radio appearance on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show. (WEEI.com's Morley Quatroche has a partial transcript.) “I think they’re going to have to be buyers because they’re the Red Sox,” Kurkjian said. “And they can’t give up on a season....The Red Sox have to go out and get somebody. They have to go out and get another starting pitcher, whether it’s Ryan Dempster or Zack Greinke. It’s going to take an enormous amount to do it.” Kurkjian also discusses such topics as Carl Crawford's injury, Bobby Valentine's managerial style and the mood in the Sox clubhouse.
- For most Boston-related material, here's a collection of Red Sox notes from earlier today, plus news about trade interest in the team's backup outfielders.
Here's some news from the Twitter feed of ESPN's Jayson Stark...
- Two executives who have recently spoken to the Cubs say that Chicago is mentioning Bryan LaHair's name in trade talks. LaHair made the All-Star team after a hot start, though as Stark notes, is hitting just .220/.278/.341 since May 15.
- Stark was somewhat surprised by Edwin Encarnacion's three-year extension with the Blue Jays, as he reports the Jays were gauging trade interest in Encarnacion as late as last week.
- The Orioles' interest in Matt Garza has faded and the O's are now "poking around on Jason Vargas." The Braves are also known to be looking at the Mariners southpaw, as Stark reported last month. MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith recently examined Vargas as a trade candidate.
2:05pm: The deal guarantees Encarnacion $29MM, including a $2MM buyout for the $10MM club option in 2016, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Encarnacion will earn annual salaries of $8MM, $9MM and $10MM.
10:17am: Edwin Encarnacion has been traded, claimed, non-tendered and designated for assignment in the last three years. His next three years figure to be considerably more peaceful. The Blue Jays announced that they signed Encarnacion to a three-year, $27MM contract extension. The deal covers the 2013-15 seasons and includes a $10MM club option for 2016.
Encarnacion, 29, was on track to hit free agency this coming offseason. The Wasserman Media Group client has enjoyed a breakout season so far in 2012, with 23 home runs and a .295/.382/.565 batting line through 356 plate appearances. Encarnacion has career batting line of .264/.341/.465 in eight seasons with the Blue Jays and Reds.
Encarnacion is known for his power, not his defense, but he has successfully transitioned to first base this year. He has split his time between first base and DH in 2012, and figures to continue in that role for the duration of his extension.
The deal is roughly comparable to the free agent contracts signed by Michael Cuddyer (three years, $31.5MM) and Josh Willingham (three years, $21MM) last offseason. However, those two players signed on the open market.
Photo courtesy of US Presswire.
We hear a lot of talk about buyers and sellers this time of year, but as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports points out in his latest column, some teams will do neither this summer and other teams will do both. Here are Rosenthal’s latest notes with less than four weeks to go before July 31st:
- The Red Sox could be positioned to trade an outfielder this month if their rehabbing players return as expected. Boston figures to pursue starting depth in trades; the Red Sox aren’t considering trades involving Josh Beckett.
- The Yankees will probably not sign Josh Hamilton or Cole Hamels this offseason, since they aim to avoid the MLB luxury tax by 2014 and that means cutting back on extravagant free agent signings.
- Under GM Frank Wren the Braves won more games while spending less money than every team but the Rays from 2009-11, Rosenthal notes.
- If the Blue Jays trade players on the brink of free agency such as Edwin Encarnacion and Kelly Johnson, they’d look to acquire players who can help them win next year. And if the Blue Jays don’t like what other teams are offering, they’ll keep their potential free agents. Toronto’s not likely to overpay in a “go for it” trade, Rosenthal writes.
- The Blue Jays aren’t trading Colby Rasmus, who has become more driven, according to a team official.
- Rosenthal suggests the Athletics could look to acquire players midseason if they stay in the playoff mix. Bartolo Colon is the player the A’s are most likely to trade, Rosenthal writes.
- The Mets are actively seeking relief help, but it’s highly doubtful they’d trade for Huston Street, who publicly criticized Mets bench coach Bob Geren last year. The Mets, who insist they won’t trade top prospects, are likely to wait until the end of the month before making any trades.
- The Cardinals wouldn’t be willing to meet the Brewers’ asking price for Zack Greinke, Rosenthal notes. St. Louis is more likely to pursue a mid-rotation starter.
- The Diamondbacks believe they need a third baseman more than a starting pitcher.
The Blue Jays recently signed Jamie Moyer to add depth to a rotation that's seen Kyle Drabek, Drew Hutchison and Brandon Morrow hit the disabled list in recent weeks, and their search for pitching reinforcements won’t end with the 49-year-old left-hander. Officials of three teams describe the Blue Jays as being in a “full court press” for rotation help, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reports. The 38-38 Blue Jays maintain a buyer’s stance, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports report.
The team recently sent multiple scouts to at least two of Wandy Rodriguez’s starts, Rosenthal and Morosi report. The club has also maintained contact with the Cubs about Matt Garza, FOX reports. The Blue Jays prefer to acquire players who are under team control for an extended period and Rodriguez (team control through 2013 or 2014) and Garza (through 2013) are more than rental players.
The Blue Jays are giving “little indication” that they intend to trade potential free agents Edwin Encarnacion and Kelly Johnson, Rosenthal and Morosi write. Scouts are saying they’ve been told Encarnacion is available for the “right” pitcher, Stark reports. Yet one person told Stark Encarnacion is "not available, as far as I know." Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.com wrote earlier today that the Blue Jays would have multiple suitors if they make Encarnacion available.
Stark suggests the Blue Jays could have interest in recently designated Cubs starter Randy Wells.
The latest from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com...
- Several teams would target Edwin Encarnacion if the Blue Jays make him available in trades, Heyman writes. However, the Blue Jays’ main priority is putting together an effective and healthy rotation.
- Teams see Alfonso Soriano of the Cubs as a designated hitter, not an outfielder, Heyman writes. One general manager says the Cubs could trade Soriano if they absorb all but $2MM of his contract. The Cubs are indeed willing to pay a “very substantial portion” of the $45MM or so remaining on the contract, Heyman writes. One scout suggested the Rays could be a fit for Soriano, who seems willing to waive his no-trade clause to facilitate a deal to a contender.
- The Twins are believed to be more willing to trade Denard Span than Josh Willingham, writes Heyman. They do not appear to be actively engaged in talks yet, but they would seek a young starting pitcher in return for Span.
- The Dodgers are one of several teams inquiring about Chase Headley, writes Heyman. The Padres are willing to listen on their third baseman and Heyman says they will consider intra-division trades.
It was on this day in 1996 that Cal Ripken Jr. became professional baseball's all-time iron man. Though Ripken eclipsed Lou Gehrig's Major League record for consecutive games played in 1995, it took a while longer to surpass Japan's Sachio Kinugasa, who played in 2215 NPL straight games between 1970 and 1987.
Here's some news from both Ripken's Orioles and elsewhere around the AL East...
- Theo Epstein spoke to media (including WEEI.com's Alex Speier) about his days as the Red Sox general manager, noting that he felt some of the club's free agent signings deviated from the franchise's long-term plan and were made due to the pressure of staying competitive. It's a must-read piece for Red Sox fans, not to mention Cubs fans who could see what Epstein hopes to avoid during his tenure in Chicago.
- “We’re going to go see hundreds of players over the next few weeks,” Red Sox GM Ben Cherington tells Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. “We may end up just acquiring one of those or none of them. In this particular year, we do believe we’re going to get impact players just by getting healthy. Still, we have to come together. I think this team still will be very good.”
- The Blue Jays could look to move Edwin Encarnacion, Kelly Johnson or "any bullpen piece" at the trade deadline if the team isn't in serious contention, opines FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi in a radio interview with the Brady & Lang show on Sportsnet 590 The Fan (Sportsnet.ca's Jeff Simmons has a partial transcript).
- Encarnacion's breakout season could put him in line for a big free agent contract this winter but Morosi says "a lot of GMs are wary" about Encarnacion's ability to play first base on a regular basis. "If you're viewed as a DH, that will affect his valuation going forward," Morosi said. "So we'll see how often he plays in the field and not having [Vladimir Guerrero] coming will certainly change how often he'll play first base."
- The Orioles and Blue Jays have both been scouting the Cubs, reports Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago. Levine specified that Baltimore was looking at the Cubs' starting pitchers and Alfonso Soriano.
- For more AL East news, check out this batch of Yankees notes and the latest on the Kevin Youkilis trade rumors.
The Rays announced that they added Hideki Matsui to their active roster today, optioning Stephen Vogt to Triple-A and transferring Brandon Guyer to the 60-day disabled list in corresponding moves. Here are some items of interest from the AL East...
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports explains that Adam Jones’ new extension is about Jones the person, not just Jones the center fielder. The Orioles signed Jones to a six-year, $85.5MM deal last week.
- The Blue Jays aren’t currently discussing an extension with the representatives for Edwin Encarnacion, Morosi reports (on Twitter). The Wasserman Media Group client is on track to hit free agency after the season.
- The Blue Jays announced that they optioned Eric Thames to Triple-A. Thames, the Opening Day left fielder, returns to the minors and infielder Mike McCoy takes his place on Toronto’s active roster.
- Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal suggests it wouldn't be surprising if the Red Sox moved to extend Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the next few months. The hot-hitting catcher will be arbitration eligible for the third and final time this coming offseason and can expect a raise from his current $2.5MM salary.
- Here's a look at the 2013 contract issues facing the AL East teams: Red Sox, Orioles, Yankees, Rays, Blue Jays.
Here's the latest from the AL East...
- The Rays' success with low-budget acquisitions stands out in contrast to other teams' lack of return on expensive free agents, writes Gary Shelton of the Tampa Bay Times. The Rays had a modest offseason and have baseball's second-best record, while Shelton notes the Marlins have only a .500 record after spending big last winter.
- Rays ownership's patience with the Andrew Friedman/Matt Silverman/Joe Maddon management team is a big reason why Tampa Bay has become a consistent contender, writes MLB.com's Bill Chastain.
- The Blue Jays offered David Pauley a minor league contract in March, tweets MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. Pauley decided to sign with the Angels instead since "there was an opportunity to come and play" in Los Angeles.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos "deserves a lot of credit" for Edwin Encarnacion's success in 2012, manager John Farrell tells MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm. "[Anthopoulos] is the one that has talked about him repeatedly, and consistently, with the belief that there is an above-average offensive player in there," Farrell said.
- Tsuyoshi Wada has been transferred to the 60-day disabled list, the Orioles announced today. The move creates space on the 40-man roster for right-hander Stu Pomeranz (brother of Rockies' hurler Drew Pomeranz), who had his contract selected from Triple-A. Wada is set to undergo Tommy John surgery and will miss the rest of the 2012 season.
- Fangraphs' Matt Klaassen looks at J.J. Hardy as "an excellent trade chip," though the Orioles' decision to move Hardy or any other veterans has been impacted by the club's surprising rise to the top of the standings.
- The Yankees might be wise to retain impending free agent Nick Swisher, opines Mike Axisa of the River Ave Blues blog, though signing him could be difficult given the Yankees' plan to fit their payroll under the luxury tax threshold by 2014.
- For more on the Bronx Bombers, check out this collection of Yankees notes compiled earlier today by MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith.