As expected, the Blue Jays will issue $17.2MM qualifying offers to their top two impending free agents, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista, by Monday’s deadline, according to FanRag’s Jon Heyman. Conversely, Toronto will not submit a QO to Michael Saunders, meaning he’ll hit free agency without draft pick compensation weighing down his value (Twitter links).
Of the three, Encarnacion is the one the Blue Jays want to retain the most, per Heyman. The soon-to-be 34-year-old first baseman/designated hitter is coming off his fifth straight season with at least 34 home runs, having swatted a career-high-tying 42 in 2016. Overall, Encarnacion slashed .263/.357/.529 in 709 plate appearances. Since 2012, his breakout season, the former Red has batted .272/.367/.544 with 193 homers and a .273 ISO in 3,133 PAs. Only the Orioles’ Chris Davis (197) has hit more long balls in that span than Encarnacion, whose ISO over the past half-decade ranks behind only Giancarlo Stanton and David Ortiz. Now, the power-hitting Encarnacion should encounter a robust market for his services in free agency as one of the two best position players available (Yoenis Cespedes is the other).
While Bautista won’t fare as well as Encarnacion on his next contract, the right fielder will still garner plenty of interest and rake in a sizable payday. Going back to his out-of-nowhere breakout in 2010, Bautista has recorded a phenomenal .264/.387/.542 line with 249 HRs to go with nearly identical strikeout and walk rates – 16.0 and 16.5 percent – and a .278 ISO. The 36-year-old is fresh off a less-than-ideal platform season, however, as he endured two stints on the disabled list and experienced a decline in his normally superb production. Bautista still hit an easily above-average .234/.366/.452 with 22 homers in 517 PAs and continued exhibiting mastery over the strike zone (87 unintentional walks, 103 strikeouts). But a dip in offense combined with Bautista’s age, not to mention a lack of defensive value, are among the factors that will keep him from netting a contract anywhere close to as rich as he reportedly wanted before the season.
At the midway point of the campaign, Saunders looked as though he was playing his way to a qualifying offer and a lucrative multiyear pact. In 344 PAs before the All-Star break, the outfielder batted a stellar .298/.372/.551 with 16 HRs and a .252 ISO. Saunders’ production cratered in the second half – .178/.282/.357 with eight HRs and a .178 ISO in 214 PAs – thereby putting a damper on his seemingly skyrocketing value. He also graded poorly as a left fielder, ranking toward the bottom of the majors in Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating, and comes with an injury-prone label. Saunders (30 later this month) did play a career-high 140 games in 2016, though, and both that and not having a QO attached should help the ex-Mariner’s cause as a free agent.
Should sign EE,Reddick, and Moss
I don’t think their payroll can fit all of them. They could probably get bautista, reddick, moss, though
Joey Bats should and will take QO
There is basically zero chance Bautista will take the Q.O.
He’d be stupid not too. He will never make more per year on a multi year contract than on this qualifying offer. If he was smart he’d take the offer
He won’t take it because it is a one-year deal. That limits his career earnings. He will likely get a 3-year deal (to be clear, he probably SHOULDN’T get a 3-year deal, but he WILL). It will be at least $42-45mil. Is that less per year? Sure. Now, is he likely to get a bigger contract a year from now or smaller?
Obviously the latter.
He won’t take the QO.
At his older age, Bautista wants to cash in on his season and get guaranteed dollars and years rather going year by year.
No way he does. He’ll get at the absolute least 30 million on the open market
He won’t get that much.
How? The only way he doesn’t is if he signs a one year deal
He will get more.
You guys need to lay off the crack pipe. He’s 36, hit under .240 and only had 22 HRs last year. I realize he was hurt, but I simply cannot see any team willing to give a 36 year old an average of 30 million AAV over a long term deal 3 years. Maybe I’m wrong, but I doubt it.
22 Homer’s is irrelevant because of the games he missed (probably played hurt). if healthy and possibly different surface, which alot of players have stayed away like beltran specifically because of that. not saying he gets 30 per year on a 3 year but 2 for 60 with a team option for a 3rd I could see he still approached a 400 obp with alot of past potential someone will try to recap that magic especially on a team were he could dh more. I’d do it if I run a high revinue team that could afford a gamble if he comes back it’s a bargain for a high revinue team
They clearly meant total, not AAV. No one thinks he’ll get $30mm AAV.
Not with a QO hanging around his neck, along with the fact he is at best mediocre in the outfield (many would argue that he is terrible, but I will be nice), is not exactly a spring chicken, has an issue with injuries, and is showing signs of regression in a batters friendly park. If Bautista doesn’t take the offer, he is going to have to pull an Ian Desmond and take whatever he can get and hope he can rebuild his value somewhere.
He has way more potential offensively than Desmond ever did horrible comp. He could wait it out and fall completely and get 15 even with the qo. Just listing teams do you think a team like Chicago would care about a draft pick a team in a win now mode just imagine what they’d do having him in left and hitting behind Bryant rizzo etc. It’s the kind of dynamic desmond doesn’t offer even cruz a couple of years ago was coming off peds. Idk if there’s a comp if you want one go with cespedes last year who again he’s offered more offensively for longer periods of time.
I’ll take “things that will never happen” for $500 Alex
Guaranteed he gets 30 million $ offer maybe even for one year to try to recoup a new contract wouldn’t be surprised if the Sox offered it to stay away from a significant ee contract and to offer positional versatility.
$60m is probably the floor for Joey Bats
I think he could even get a contract similar to the one cespedes got last year 3 for 75 possible opt-out it seems to be all the rage nowadays.
Bautista wore a knee brace even after coming back from the DL, and Saunders hammy looked to be bothering him the whole season pretty much, which showed up in his defense. I’m sure both won’t have trouble finding work.
All 3 will be gone next yr. This is Shipiro’s chance to put his own direction to the Jay’s while also adding to their farm system with compensation draft picks.
Shapiro doesn’t like aging vets. Oh wait, he signed Bourn and Swisher to paralyzing contracts…
One possible solution is to sign Reddick for RF, Gomez for LF. YoU could also sign one of those two and look at trading for Puig. Gomez in LF, Pillar in CF and Reddick in RF would be an interesting combo. For 1b and DH you could look at Brandon Moss, Steve Pearce or Matt Holliday as possible solutions. Rowdy Tellez is nearly ready to take over 1b for the Jays after an outstanding year in AA. I think Shapiro will avoid anyone with a QO attached. He really wants the draft picks for EE and JB.
Saunders is soft. There’s a reason why they didn’t want him in seattle and Toronto tried trading him. He says all the right things and shows flashes of his physical talent but at the end of the day he’s overrated underperformed
If anything he was underrated, the guys in front office in Seattle were complete jerks to him, for little to no reason than “lack of effort” which Saunders dutifully denied any lack of effort.
I felt bad for Saunders, he’s a nice guy who just gets chomped on by the injury bug, bad luck and getting stiffed by the organization. I feel the show he out on in the first part was the true form of what he can be but the hammy injury just ruined him physically, limiting his swing, running, and ability to make correct routes/judgements. I hope he makes some decent coin in the FA market, which with out a draft pick, he should did a job.
Maybe so but Toronto soured on him pretty quick. They tried trading him him and found out pretty quick how brittle he was. Outside of meaningless playoff abs he never stepped up in the clutch and quickly became a liability at the plate. He’s become a horrible defender.
That said, some GM will probably give him 3 years / 20 million.
As long as you don’t count on him as an everyday player he’s probably worth it- no more though.
They tried trading him after he had basically missed an entire season. Yet they clearly did trust him enough to start the season with him, and he responded with a good year with the bat, despite the horrible second-half.
Nice post TheMichigan.. Good points about Saunders.. If he can stay healthy he should be a good pickup for a team. Best of luck to him..
Love EE but I think someone is simply going to outbid the Jays and it won’t make business sense to pay that kind of money. We have probably seen his best years. And thanks for your years of service Jose but my my 13 year old plays a better RF than you at this point. Come back for a reasonable contract and you can be the DH and retire a Jay. But that won’t happen. Gomez in left, Reddick in RF and perhaps Morales as a DH won’t break the bank, improves the D, balances the hitting and keeps the Jays contenders at least another year. If they have the money available, go after Melencon. He should be a lot more reasonable than Chapman or Jensen and probably less years. If the big 2 walk, Jays fans deserve to see a serious effort to fill those holes after leading the league in attendance. Gomez may take a one year deal with incentives or option to rebuild value. Played pretty well in Texas
Side note…don’t sign FAs that have a draft pick attached to them. They need them. None of the players I mentioned fall into that category.
Gomez is not the type of player the Jays are looking for, especially in free agency.
What makes you say that? Certainly an upgrade in RF unless your happy with Cabrera and Upton and probably won’t require more than a two year deal, maybe one.
I, for one, am fine with Carrera/Upton platoon at LF as long as the Jays can resign EE and sign Reddick as new RF. Gomez’s defense is not what it once was and I think he has already begun to decline as a hitter. Add the fact that he’s another free swinging right handed hitter does not help Jays’ lineup that is already predominantly right handed. Pass on Gomez.
EE is gone. (unless he accepts a team friendly deal).. Anyone who has followed baseball for 10+yrs will understand.. Its looking like Joeybats may resign since his price has dropped. Who knows, we may not have him either..
If only we could trade for Votto.. Yes he has anger issues, but hes a high ba/contact hitter.. His left handed bat would help us as well.
Votto is not coming. Jays don’t have the prospects to make that deal, horrible contract and Cincy likely won’t kick in cash.
I disagree–Votto and his contract will look like the bargain of the century once EE and Cespedes sign. I still remember the day Ricky Henderson and Kirby Puckett signed for 3 million each and I thought baseball was ruined. Then it was $7 mil, then $10, then $15, then $20, now it’s $25 and I’d bet my left nut Cespedes and EE will get $30 per. By the time year 3 comes around in that Votto contract you’ll have guys like Harper hitting FA. $25 million will seem like $10 mil again and he’ll STILL hit .300 with a .400 OBP!!! The values are going up so fast, cost certainty matters big time! Shapiro knows this. It’s not like you’re signing a 33 year old to hit bombs. Votto doesn’t need to hit homers to be successful like EE or Cepedes.
If Votto were to get traded he wouldn’t cost ANY prospects. Especially if the Reds don’t kick in cash. But since he has a no-trade clause which he has no intention of waiving the discussion is moot.
Ask the Dodgers in the a-gon deal with the Sox when they took on way more $. he’ll cost all of his contract and prospect capital ask yourself if he’s worth it when there are other good options that cost just $
Hundreds of players over the years have said they don’t want to move and then they end up going. He may not want to go today, that may change in Jan.
Again, all of his contract WILL be a bargain. Wait until these players start signing this year and then come back and tell me 25 mil is still a lot of money. So to me, the money is irrelevant. Hell, by the time we have to pay Donaldson he may command $35 a year.
I know the A-Gone trade gets brought up a lot, but there are sooooo many more variables involved with Joey Votto. Not to mention the fact Votto is a mile ahead of A-Gone in talent and value.
First off, this guy IS ALREADY the greatest Canadian to ever play (and I am a die-hard Larry Walker fan). Remember how all of Canada got behind a guy who hit .178 in the second half (yes, I’m talking about you Saunders), and got him to the All-Star game? Can you imagine the jersey sales alone on getting Votto with an all-star patch AND a Canadian flag? You think Shapiro doesn’t understand that value alone? This cannot be under-stated, cost certainty AND a player many Canadian NON baseball fans will get behind.
And I continue to bring this point up. We all saw Bautista fall off the table this year, at 36. Primarily though because unless he’s walking or hitting homers his value is VERY limited. Once the power is zapped, he’s not the same player. I think we can all see where that is not the same as Votto. Making 25 mil to hit .300 with a .400 OBP will still be a bargain at 36, or 37, or 38! Who cares that he only hits 11 HR. As long as he continues to zip the ball around the infield his value will maintain. Unlike Chris Davis, EE, Trumbo, etc, etc, Votto does NOT need to hit HR. Those are the types of players we are used to disappearing at the age of 36 and 37. Votto is NOT any of those players.
Last point I’m going to make is we are in win right now mode with still at least one more productive season ahead of us for Tulo and Martin. Add JD, we’ve still got a very productive middle of the line-up. Votto is currently THE BEST at getting on base in baseball, has been last 7 seasons. If Votto WERE a free agent right now, would any of us be talking about bringing back EE or any of the other free agents? NO!!! And would a 7 year 170 mil contract get Votto when EE might get that? Again, NO. The Reds can still finish last without paying one man 25 million–get it through your heads, even the bone-headed Reds management gets that. If he costs prospects it will be one prospect. In today’s dollars he is probably worth north of $30 mil, and he will be for at least a few more years. Everything I’m saying will be a lot more meaningful after the free agent feeding frenzy begins. I’m hoping for a deal over the winter meetings.
Why trade those prospects for votto and take on that salary when you could trade for someone like jd Martinez and then sign ee I’ll admit he’s the best player being mentioned and the Canadian thing is cool but your team would be so much better with the both of them vs just vott. Again votto is the best player involved but why waste prospect capital AND pay when you could get 2 players for the same cost?
Votto has a full no-trade clause and has explicitly stated he wants to stay in Cincy and doesn’t care if they are rebuilding.
Pretty sure Votto would waive it to come to his home country and have s chance at a ring but I would be very surprised if the Jays do that. They can get two players maybe 3 for the cost of one Votto who will be no good to them in 3 or 4 years. People keep mentioning jersey sales. How much revenue do you think they would make on Votto jerseys? Not enough…
Get used to the idea of Smoak at 1B next year with a platoon mate something like Moreland
He explicitly said he wouldn’t. How do you not get this?
Until he’s actually offered the chance, you really don’t know what his thoughts are. He’s not going to come out and say he would like to be traded to Toronto or anywhere else.