Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion isn’t interested in discussing a new deal during the season, his agent Paul Kinzer tells Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports. Encarnacion is set to reach the open market at the conclusion of the 2016 campaign.
A team source tells Heyman that the organization has at least made “overtures” to re-start a dialogue with the 33-year-old star. But when asked if Toronto had made an in-season effort, Kinzer said the team had “not really” tried. (That could be interpreted, perhaps, as a denial of communications or a reflection of their nature and quality.)
That’s just fine for Encarnacion’s camp: as Kinzer says, he never intended to talk during the season after a bad experience with that approach earlier in his career. “He’s the most relaxed I’ve every seen him,” says Kinzer. “Why mess with the guy? He’s content. He’s happy.”
Indeed, after a sluggish start, Encarnacion has been on fire at the plate. His season line — .267/.358/.541 with 23 home runs over 387 plate appearances — is already back in line with the top-level offensive production he’s delivered in recent campaigns.
From the club’s perspective, president of baseball operations Mark Shapiro suggested to Heyman that the organization didn’t low-ball the veteran over the winter. (Specifically, he denied an apparent report that the Jays made an opening offer of one year and then moved it to two, both of which would fall well below Encarnacion’s seeming market placement.) Still, Heyman says that the perception continues that Jose Bautista remains a higher priority for Toronto.
While there no longer appears to be any possibility of an extension, that doesn’t mean the Jays won’t have any chance to retain Encarnacion. “This doesn’t mean Toronto’s out,” says Kinzer. “This as the plan all along. We were going to play this thing out.”