The Blue Jays’ four-year, $80MM offer to Edwin Encarnacion has been taken off the table, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter link). Though that initial offer — made before Toronto signed Kendrys Morales — no longer stands, the Jays are reportedly still interested in Encarnacion’s services, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman (Twitter link). Encarnacion is still “in play” for the Jays, Rangers and potentially two National League teams, who have called about the slugger with an eye towards using him as an everyday first baseman.
It probably isn’t a surprise that the Jays withdrew their offer in the wake of the Morales signing, as according to Encarnacion’s agent Paul Kinzer earlier this week, the two sides hadn’t talked numbers since that initial offer. Other teams had made offers, though Toronto was “showing Edwin the most love,” in Kinzer’s words. As Rosenthal notes in another tweet, however, the Blue Jays are also still exploring the outfield market, and they could forego re-signing Encarnacion if they land a big-ticket outfielder like Dexter Fowler.
Kinzer has also indicated that he and his client could be looking for five years and as much as a $25MM average annual value, though those comments are now almost a month old. Five years in the $125MM range may have been a high target anyway (MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes projected Encarnacion to land four years and $92MM) and it could be an even longer shot given that Encarnacion’s market seems to have shrunk in recent days. The Red Sox don’t seem to be in hot pursuit given their reluctance to surpass the luxury tax threshold again, while the Astros and Yankees have addressed their DH needs with less-costly one-year deals with Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday, respectively.
In regards to the Rangers, GM Jon Daniels told reporters (including the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Jeff Wilson) today that the team was more likely to use internal options like Jurickson Profar, Joey Gallo or Ryan Rua to handle first base than a free agent. This could, of course, be some negotiating gamesmanship on Daniels’ part, as entrusting both the first base and DH spots to those inexperienced players would seem like an odd move for a contender, notwithstanding Profar and Gallo’s blue-chip prospect status.
As I noted in my Encarnacion free agent profile, the Orioles, White Sox, Rockies and Marlins make some sense as speculative fits for the slugger, though it isn’t known whether any of those teams are willing or financially able to make such a big splash. Among NL teams, even Miami is something of a longshot since the Fish are more apt to be looking for a right-handed complement to Justin Bour (who had quite a solid season) rather than an outright replacement. Unless a first base job opens up due to an injury or another trade, there doesn’t seem to be much room for Encarnacion within the National League.