Edwin Encarnacion expressed doubts about his future with the Blue Jays, telling Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun that he feels “they don’t have it in their plans for me to stay here.” The slugger is “really disappointed that nothing has happened [in contract talks], but it’s not my decision,” as he wants to keep playing in Toronto beyond this season.
Encarnacion also commented on the lack of progress in extension talks earlier this week, telling ESPN’s Enrique Rojas that the two sides hadn’t begun discussing money yet, as there was still disagreement over how many years an extension would cover. An unnamed Jays player and “Encarnacion loyalist” told Elliott a few days ago that he’d heard the club had only offered Encarnacion a one-year extension at the Winter Meetings and then a two-year offer later. Blue Jays president/CEO Mark Shapiro offered no comments on the Encarnacion negotiations when talking to reporters, including John Lott of VICE Sports (Twitter links), as Shapiro noted that there would be a better chance at a positive outcome if the contract talks remained private.
Of course, there’s already been quite a bit of media buzz about both Encarnacion and (even moreso) Jose Bautista’s extension talks with the two sluggers both set for free agency next winter and both having been vocal about their desire to stay in Toronto. It’s hard to discuss one player’s case without discussing the other, as the Jays are faced with the choice of extending two players to huge contracts through their mid-30’s (Encarnacion is 33) and late 30’s (Bautista is 35), extending just one of them or letting both walk, which would result in both fan disappointment and a gigantic hit to the Jays’ lineup.
Though Encarnacion is the younger of the two, he could be the bigger question mark in terms of long-term durability. Encarnacion is essentially already a full-time DH, and he’s been hampered by injuries to his quad, back and finger over the last two years. An abscessed tooth and an oblique strain have kept Encarnacion from any game action this spring, though he told Elliott that “the oblique pain is minor” and he’s just being cautious in order to avoid a greater injury that would cost him time in the regular season.
On the flip side, Encarnacion has generally been a pretty durable player over the last four seasons and obviously his recent injuries haven’t impacted his offensive production. Assuming that he hits as usual in 2016, he’ll be in line for a massive free agent contract next offseason, especially given how next year’s free agent class is thin on elite talent.
Encarnacion is a strong bet to land at least a four-year deal next winter, so if the unnamed teammate’s comment was accurate, then a one- or two-year extension offer is unrealistically low on the Blue Jays’ part. Then again, it’s not uncommon in any negotiation to open with a very high (or low) dollar amount or number of years just on the off-chance that other side accepts, or at least to set a baseline for the talks. Encarnacion set Opening Day as the deadline for extension talks, however, so it seems as if the two sides will need to make some quick progress if a new deal is to be reached this spring.
Alex Anthopolous is responsible for the mess with the Bautista and Encarnacion contracts. Shapiro will look like the bad guy no matter what his administration does.
How is AA responsible for the mess? Because he had them both signed to great cobtracts and now they want paid?
No one has to look like the bad guy, there’s just times where it really doesn’t make sense to pay the player.
What mess? If the Blue Jays are smart about it they will draw a line in the sand, make a take-it-or-leave it contract offer and if either or both don’t accept, let them walk. They’ve already gotten the best baseball these two will EVER play…why pay either a fortune that they don’t stand a chance of earning?
Bautista…3 yrs, $81M ($27M AAV)
Encarnacion…2 years, $30M or so
I agree, AA got their best years at a decent rate. It seems both players now have unrealistic expectations. I could see paying slightly over market in annual value to appease both the players and fan base but it is unwise to overpay either in terms of years when their best baseball is behind them and injuries are making their mark. Offer a fair amount and if neither sign move on and use that money to extend Donaldson and bring in New talent. If you are going to overpay as a club do it on guys that are 28. Don’t set the club backwards by overpaying them with massive contracts they cannot live up to just to appease fans.
I’d go beyond that and say that AA got EE and JB at amazing rates. Those two contracts alone probably netted the Blue Jays in the vicinity of $100mm in surplus value.
Your dreaming if your thinking EE is gonna get 30 mill as a DH which would be a 33% premium above the AAV for the position.
That is an idiotic thought. AA got two of the top 3 largest position player bargains in the last few years. AA is not at fault that player salary is inflating rapidly and that they want the market rate….
I hope bigpapi4ever’s Sox step up to the plate and snag Encarnacion.
I’m a big fan of EE, but dont feel there’s a place for him next year.. Joeybats is the leader, and I agree with the article above, he seems more durable. I’m hoping the jays can keep jose and eventually transition him to a dh role as hes 35 now..
I don’t think its financially possible to keep both, and why have ee primarily be dh when joeybats is getting older as well? I still prefer joeybats over ee at the plate.
Its tough when u have to say goodbye to players after watching them for so long, but thats how it is. I’ll enjoy ee this year, and have fingers crossed the jays resign joeybats.
They already have one major health risk in Tulo who may need to DH soon. They would be much better off letting Encarnacion go and put the full court press to bring Bautista back. They can always find another DH.
And it may come down to one of the three: Tulo, or Bauts, or EE. Each is worth a fortune, to any ball club, and neither will have a difficult time receiving a just pay. I doubt that Toronto can afford all three. And they will soon have to pay for an all-star starter. Also, they have to take in consideration Donaldson, Martin, et al, and of course, the shrinking Looney. So, I feel that the jays will be able to keep onto one of the three.
Honestly, they’re both good candidates to let walk. It’s tough to do, but sometimes it’s the right thing.
Sign each to two/three year deals with options for other years. That way we get what we want in keeping a quality lineup intact and gives the club an option if or when Father Time catches up with them. May cost more to do it that way but could be more of a win-win-win for everyone.
What part of the players negotiating stance of high AAV and 4-6 years guaranteed are people not getting?
It’s almost impossible to sign EE to anything more than a 2 year extension, as Josh Donaldson will be a free agent after the second year and I think if he stays healthy and keeps playing the way he has, the jays would like to sign him to an extension. There will also be some young players who will become arbitration eligible. Their (jays) preference might be they’d rather keep Bautista, but, I’m not sure they’ll overpay for him, or go anything over 3 years, so, I doubt either sign. Part of EE’s problem too, was stated above by other posters, he’s a full time DH and the Jays have a lot of options for that position, Tulo, Martin, Colobello, Smoak and even Donaldson and/or Bautista if he stays, to keep their bats in the line up on rest days
If Jays can’t sign at least one of Bautista or Encarnacion, it won’t be too good for their PR. I already feel like Jays fans are mad that they didn’t open their wallet for a front-line SP, particularly talking about making a competitive offer to David Price.
I get they already have Tulo and Donaldson, but losing both of Jose and Edwin would make their lineup significantly weaker. That plus a iffy rotation and an alright bullpen, that could hurt them beyond 2016. AA deserves credit for pulling off the acquisitions of Tulo and Donaldson, but to keep the team competitive for years to come he’ll need to do that type of trade for a pitcher, or at least retain Baut. or Encar.
Winning games shuts up stupid fans. No need to dish out stupid contracts in an attempt to appease them
Good luck winning games with Shapiro and his crew.
But they will be talked about a lot and they’ll have the media writing how “progressive” they are. You’ll find out shortly that it’s all about them.