The Toronto Blue Jays are doing their best to keep Edwin Encarnacion even after signing Kendrys Morales. The Jays tried to sign him earlier in the off-season to a pretty nice contract that Encarnacion rejected.
The Jays offered their own star free agent slugger Edwin Encarnacion about $80 million over four years, according to sources, and they remain interested in retaining Encarnacion even after signing free agent hitter Kendrys Morales.
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The Jays didn’t entice Encarnacion to make a quick decision to return with their offer, but their continuing interest suggests the deal they offered is likely still on the table, at the least. The Jays had offered a two-year guarantee to Encarnacion (plus two team option years) in spring training, and their new four-year attempt at the very least shows a serious interest, a stance that hasn’t changed with the Morales deal for $33 million over three years.
Encarnacion has many possible landing spots, but it would be an interesting fit if he stays. It would render the Justin Smoak extension useless that they gave him during last year. He would be trade bait, although he doesn’t really have much value.
Morales had a 53 point drop in OPS last year and only played in 12 games in the field. Because of this, you have to figure Morales will more than likely be the Jays DH next season. Encarnacion played first base 85 times, but did DH 76 times last season and is going into his age 34 season.
I think Encarnacion is a good enough athlete to where he can handle playing first base on a day in and day out basis, however, because of the signing of Morales, I don’t think the best fit for him at this point is with Toronto.
Encarnacion should go to a situation like the Blue Jays had last season where he could DH a bit and play some first as well. That way, it keeps him fresh and his bat in the lineup at all times especially as he continues to age.
A team is going to pay the price for Encarnacion both in terms of money and a draft pick. Toronto should do what they can to keep one of the premium bats in the market. However, I don’t believe that this will be the place and the best fit for Encarnacion.