The previously-reported extension talks between the Blue Jays and slugger Edwin Encarnacion do not appear to have gained much traction, according to a report from Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes (Spanish-language link). Encarnacion expressed a generally pessimistic outlook on the possibility of a deal.
Speaking with Rojas in his native Spanish (translation errors mine), Encarnacion said that there was “nothing new” to report from the latest talks between his representative and the club. He explained that the sides have not even reached the point of talking money, as discussions have stalled over the number of years that would be covered in a new contract.
The 33-year-old is essentially limited to DH and first base duties at this stage of his career. Age and lack of positional flexibility no doubt limit the team’s interest in a lengthy pact, but with free agency beckoning it isn’t hard to see why Encarnacion and his camp are looking to maximize the term of years — which, he noted, was a key point from his perspective.
Encarnacion has established himself as one of the game’s premier power hitters and best contractual values over the last several years. Dating back to his breakout 2012 season, he has posted a .274/.371/.549 batting line with 151 home runs. Encarnacion has been consistent and durable, too, with only one campaign with an OPS+ below 150 (he put up a 145 mark in 2013) and one year in which he managed less than 600 plate appearances (he took 542 trips to the plate in 2014).
If no movement can be gained in talks with Toronto, Encarnacion says he’ll be glad to take that track record onto an open market that promises to feature a shallower crop of talent than was available this past winter. “Now, I hope to finish my year, finish my year healthy and go to free agency,” he said. While he made clear that he wouldn’t rule out a deal coming together, Encarnacion suggested an extension was not a likely outcome as things stand.