Free agent designated hitter/first baseman Edwin Encarnacion will probably agree to a deal during the winter meetings, agent Paul Kinzer told Joel Sherman of the New York Post on Sunday (Twitter link). Negotiations between Encarnacion and interested teams have intensified since Major League Baseball and the players’ union reached a new collective bargaining agreement Wednesday, Kinzer revealed. Given that the Astros are signing Carlos Beltran and the Red Sox are reportedly falling out of contention for Encarnacion, it seems the slugger’s group of suitors has shrunk this weekend.
More on the free agent and trade markets:
- If the Braves acquire an ace, it’s more likely to be the Rays’ Chris Archer than the White Sox’s Chris Sale, tweets Mark Bowman of MLB.com. However, the Rays’ current asking price “far exceeds” what Atlanta is willing to pay, Bowman adds. The Braves have run into a similar problem with the White Sox regarding Sale.
- Although Detroit general manager Al Avila stated in October that the team has been spending “above its means,” the Tigers aren’t necessarily in payroll-slashing mode, one of their executives informed Sherman (Twitter link). Rather, they only intend to trade high-priced veterans if the right deals come along. The Tigers are currently planning on contending in 2017, per the executive. That makes sense considering they’re part of a division which already includes one rebuilding team, the Twins, and could feature two more if the Royals and White Sox decide their windows have closed.
- The new CBA is a negative for the Royals, opines Sherman, who reports (via Twitter) that their executives will meet Sunday night to discuss which path to take this offseason. The club has several integral contributors entering contract years, namely left-hander Danny Duffy, closer Wade Davis, outfielders Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson, first baseman Eric Hosmer, third baseman Mike Moustakas and shortstop Alcides Escobar. It stands to reason the 2015 World Series champions could part with at least some of those players in the coming months.
- The idea of the Mets trading both Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce came up Saturday, but the team is “unlikely” to deal multiple outfielders, GM Sandy Alderson said Sunday. The likelihood is that Bruce will end up on the move, relays Anthony DiComo of MLB.com, as Alderson noted Granderson’s importance to the Mets (Twitter links). New York isn’t progressing toward jettisoning an outfielder yet, according to Buster Olney of ESPN (Twitter link). In a perfect world, the Mets would acquire bullpen help in return for Granderson or Bruce. Their best reliever, closer Jeurys Familia, could face a domestic violence suspension in 2017, and top southpaw Jerry Blevins is a free agent.
- Thirteen teams have checked in on free agent reliever Brad Ziegler, reports Olney (Twitter link). One of those clubs is Arizona, Ziegler’s longtime employer. When it comes to available relievers, the lion’s share of attention has understandably gone to Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon. Ziegler has more than held his own since debuting in 2008, though, with a 2.44 ERA and 66.3 percent ground-ball rate across 596 2/3 innings. The 37-year-old ended 2016 as a setup man with Boston, but he was previously the D-backs’ closer and combined for 48 saves from 2015 through the midway point of last season.