With negotiations seemingly taking place in earnest for free-agent slugger Edwin Encarnacion, let’s see where the MLBTR readership sees things heading. These are the reported suitors that are still trying to land him (in alphabetical order):
Astros: Houston long seemed like a clear possibility, but various other moves made a big strike for Encarnacion appear unlikely. But the ’Stros could still clear the way for a big bat, especially if the team ends up dealing other pieces to add a starter.
Athletics: A true dark horse, the A’s have always had the need for a big bat, but were a questionable fit in terms of budget. Just how high Oakland is willing to bid isn’t known, but it now seems clear that the team is firmly in the hunt.
Blue Jays: The incumbent Jays are said to be fading as a destination, but Encarnacion’s camp has long suggested its his preference to stay in Toronto, and it’s still possible that he could fit.
Indians: Fresh off a World Series appearance, Cleveland has a bit more budget flexibility than usual and could certainly stand to add a significant hitter to the middle of its order. We’ve heard varying suggestions of the organization’s willingness to spend, but the latest indication is that the Indians are pushing to land EE.
Rangers: Texas remains arguably the best fit on paper, even if its front office has repeatedly poured cold water on the likelihood of such a big signing for the past several weeks.
Other: Encarnacion’s agent, Paul Kinzer, says that there are at least six teams to have made three or four-year offers, noting that National League clubs have been involved as well. The Rockies and Cardinals appear to be the most sensible N.L. possibilities, with Colorado acknowledging that it’s at least monitoring the market and reports suggesting that St. Louis may take a look as well.
While at least five American League teams are now known to be in pursuit, it’s imaginable that others, too, have entered the bidding (or, perhaps, still will). The Mariners, Orioles, and Red Sox are among the organizations that could conceivably still be involved (though Boston has quite recently downplayed that possibility).
So, now’s the time to enter your bets: which team is most likely to land the best remaining free agent? (Order randomized; link for app users.)