A combination of poor luck and legitimate factors are working against Encarnacion. His age and the reputation of DH-types entering their mid-to-late 30s does not help, nor does his limited defensive flexibility or the compensation draft pick attached to his name.
On the other hand, the market itself has played out in an unfortunate way for Encarnacion. With the Red Sox (Mitch Moreland) and Astros (Carlos Beltran) opting for smaller commitments at first base or DH, some of his expected suitors dropped out of the race rather early, leaving teams — like the Toronto Blue Jays — who are more willing to wait on the market to develop.
Also at play is how Encarnacion’s camp, mainly agent Paul Kinzer, has managed his market. It could be used as a case study in NFL Agent School, but not in the good way.
This will soon reach the long overdue point of logic taking over, though, as it’s not conceivable for Encarnacion’s market to drop much further than it already has. Bats like Mark Trumbo and Chris Carter remain alongside him, but Encarnacion is a far more complete and consistent player. An offensive threat that a World Series lineup can revolve around as opposed to a boom-or-bust power threat.
Patience is now the biggest variable. Encarnacion’s side is hitting .000 on their major decisions while the Blue Jays and other MLB teams have shown little hesitation to move quickly through their options.
One side will blink first — Encarnacion’s or the potential free agent suitor — but that could turn into a long game.