6:56pm: Cleveland, Texas, and Oakland appear to be the three most likely destinations at present, Bowden adds. On the N.L. side, the Rockies are said still to be “monitoring” the developments while the Marlins aren’t involved.
6:13pm: In addition to the Indians and Blue Jays, the Rangers, Astros, and Athletics have all made offers to Encarnacion, according to ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden (who cites team sources for each organization). As noted below, there’s apparently at least one other organization that has dangled a proposal as well.
Each of those five clubs have put multiple years on the table, per Bowden, who notes that some of the offers include opt-outs following the 2017 campaign. Two suitors, in particular, are said to be engaged in negotiations “at a rapid pace” with Encarnacion’s reps. It’s not known which of the five organizations are pushing hardest at present.
2:35pm: The Indians are “pulling out all the stops” to land Encarnacion, although they might ultimately not be able to afford him, a source tells Fan Rag’s Jon Heyman. Kinzer tells Heyman that two teams have been especially enthusiastic in their pursuit of Encarnacion, although he doesn’t say who.
- Kinzer says he is surprised Encarnacion isn’t yet signed. He acknowledges the “glut” of power hitters remaining on the free agent market (presumably including players like Mark Trumbo, Mike Napoli, Jose Bautista and Chris Carter) but says he felt Encarnacion and Yoenis Cespedes stood above that group.
- Encarnacion has gotten three- to four-year offers from six teams, Kinzer says. Most of those offers were for three years. National League teams have been involved in Encarnacion’s market as well as American League teams.
- Encarnacion’s priority, though, has been to return to the Blue Jays. The Jays, of course, made a significant offer to Encarnacion, but that offer came right around the opening of free agency, and Kinzer says the timing wasn’t quite right for Encarnacion, who wanted to assess other teams’ interest. After the Jays signed Kendrys Morales and then Steve Pearce, Kinzer and Encarnacion felt it wasn’t likely Encarnacion would return to Toronto. “We never had any idea that the Blue Jays were going to move that fast,” Kinzer says. He acknowledges the two sides have spoken recently, but says Encarnacion is coming to grips with the fact that he probably won’t be a Blue Jay next season.
- Kinzer says he expected significant offers from teams like the Red Sox and Yankees early in free agency. Those apparently didn’t materialize, and Kinzer says he believes the threat of a lost draft pick had an impact on Encarnacion’s market. The absence of a new CBA early in the offseason was a factor as well, he adds.
- Kinzer feels it wasn’t a mistake that Encarnacion didn’t discuss an extension with the Jays once the 2016 season started. He says that when he negotiated Starlin Castro’s extension with the Cubs, it was a significant distraction for Castro, affecting his eating and sleeping habits. Encarnacion, meanwhile, was very productive in his final year before free agency.