Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion reiterates that remains open to an extension, but is setting an Opening Day deadline so that talks do not become a distraction, according to various reporters (including MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm). Via Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi (on Twitter), Encarnacion would like to finish his career in Toronto. “I love this team, I love this city,” he says. “But it (doesn’t) depend on me. It depends what they’re thinking.” It was reported earlier this month that the Blue Jays would explore extensions with Encarnacion and Jose Bautista, both of whom are eligible for free agency after the season. The 33-year-old Encarnacion has hit 34 or more homers in each of the last four years, and in response to a question about what figure he might have in mind for a new contract, he says (via Chisholm) the only number he’s thinking of right now is 40, for the number of dingers he’d like to hit this season. Here’s more from the American League.
- GM David Forst says the Athletics see new acquisition Chris Coghlan as a “[Ben] Zobrist-type guy,” via a video from the Bay Area News Group’s John Hickey (on Twitter). Forst mentions that Coghlan has played second and third base in the past, along with left field and center field. Of course, Coghlan has mostly been a left fielder in his career, but it sounds like the Athletics could be preparing for him to take on a slightly different role this season. He did appear in 15 games at second base with the Cubs in 2015.
- Angels star Mike Trout hopes to steal more bases in 2016, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times writes. “I gotta get my confidence back,” says Trout, referring to his base-stealing. Trout led the AL with 49 steals in 2012, but that number dropped to 11 (against seven caught stealings) in 2015. Trout is, obviously, plenty valuable whether he steals bases or not, and Moura notes that much of the Angels’ brain trust isn’t concerned about whether Trout racks up big base-stealing totals.