It’s still very early on the offseason, but there already are strong indications that Edwin Encarnacion’s eight-year tenure with the Toronto Blue Jays is over.
The Jays reportedly agreed to a three-year, $33 million with free agent Kendrys Morales on Friday – seemingly filling their DH spot.
Although Morales can play first base, he made only 15 starts there the past two seasons for the Royals – while starting 279 games at DH. Meanwhile, Encarnacion made 171 starts at DH over that same span, and 134 at first base.
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Toronto also is on the hunt for a platoon partner for Justin Smoak at first base, providing further evidence that Encarnacion is no longer in the picture there, either.
Encarnacion and longtime Jays right fielder Jose Bautista were given qualifying offers by the team, but each is expected to reject what essentially is a one-year, $17.2 million contract.
It boils down to finances, and the Blue Jays obviously have determined they can’t afford Encarnacion and won’t sit idly by and hope he falls back into their lap (as Yoenis Cespedes did with the Mets last offseason).
The 33-year-old Encarnacion ranks second in the majors in homers (193) and RBI (550) since the 2012 season, and sixth in OPS (.912) over that span. As the premier power hitter on the free-agent market, his asking price should soar higher than the baseballs he regularly has deposited in the Rogers Centre seats.
Sources: Kendrys Morales to #BlueJays, three years, $33M, pending physical. First reported: @DfineNrmLC.