Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion will not entertain extension talks into the regular season, WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford reports. If a new deal isn’t worked out, of course, Encarnacion would stand to reach free agency after the 2016 season, where Bradford says he could draw interest from Boston. Toronto executive Tony LaCava said today that he’s not been informed of that stance by Encarnacion’s camp, but would respect the request if it’s made, per MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm (via Twitter). LaCava also said “it’s possible” that the Jays could reach new deals with both Encarnacion and fellow power bat Jose Bautista, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca tweets. As MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk recently explained in breaking down the extension candidacy of Bautista, however, it’s worth wondering whether the team will be willing and able to commit to both players.
Here’s more from the game’s eastern divisions:
- If the Nationals can’t draw Ben Zobrist to D.C., the club could consider Jimmy Rollins as a lower-cost bridge to prospect Trea Turner at short, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney tweets. In his comments today, GM Mike Rizzo said that he doesn’t feel compelled to add at the shortstop position, whether or not Zobrist is brought on board to play second. “I have a comfort level that if today were opening day, we have a shortstop on the roster and feel good about it,” said Rizzo, via Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post.
- The Nationals’ head baseball executive also noted that there’s been some interest in veteran Yunel Escobar, who could factor at short or elsewhere in the infield if he’s not dealt. “There’s been several teams that have inquired about Escobar,” Rizzo said. “He’s a versatile player that’s a good hitter and a really good big-league player, so there have been several teams that have interest in him.” Escobar could be expendable if an
- The Yankees have at least some level of interest in infielder Asdrubal Cabrera, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. It’s unclear as of yet how much cash New York will dedicate to free agency, but Cabrera could be an option at second for the club, per Morosi.
- While the Braves are interested in signing a center fielder, the club isn’t keen on giving up a draft choice to get Dexter Fowler and could find Austin Jackson too expensive, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports (Twitter links). Atlanta could instead pursue the trade route, with a fallback of platooning Michael Bourn with a cheaper free agent in the mold of Drew Stubbs.
- New Phillies GM Matt Klentak sat down recently with first baseman Ryan Howard and his agent to discuss his role with the organization, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports. “Everybody was very honest with each other, and he seemed genuinely excited and energized looking forward to next year,” said Klentak. “If Ryan Howard is performing, Ryan Howard is going to play,” Klentak went on to say. “If he’s not, he’ll play less. And that’s not specific to Ryan, that’s true to everyone on our club and probably just about everyone in baseball.”
- Klentak also acknowledged that the Phillies are drawing plenty of interest in closer Ken Giles, as Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports. Philadelphia is “taking it day by day” in assessing whether to move Giles, but doesn’t — and, in my view, shouldn’t — feel any pressure to force a move. “I don’t know how much I really want to say about that, but, yeah, there’s a lot of interest in him because he’s good, and because he’s young and because he’s cheap,” said Klentak. “We’ll see. I don’t know how that’s going to shake out, [but] if he’s with us we’ll be very happy he’s still with us.”