Edwin Encarnacion might be the best free agent available, especially now that Yoenis Cespedes is returning to the New York Mets. He also might be close to signing somewhere.
Encarnacion’s agent, Paul Kinzer, told TSN in an interview Tuesday that two teams have made “serious” offers to the three-time All-Star.
Kinzer reportedly declined to identify the two teams but said three teams have told him they’re waiting for Major League Baseball to sign a new collective bargaining agreement before making Encarnacion a contract offer. MLB’s current CBA expires Thursday.
Encarnacion has spent his last seven-plus seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays after being shipped north of the border by the Cincinnati Reds at the 2009 non-waiver trade deadline. The Blue Jays already signed fellow first baseman/designated hitter Kendrys Morales to a three-year contract earlier this offseason, but Toronto is “showing Edwin the most love,” according to Kinzer.
Regardless of where Encarnacion lands, we might not have to wait long for his decision. Kinzer told TSN his client probably will sign a contract later this week or early next week. Perhaps MLB’s current labor situation is the only thing holding up a potential deal.
Cespedes signed a four-year, $110 million contract with the Mets. Cespedes is 31 years old and plays the outfield, whereas Encarnacion will turn 34 in January and is a first baseman/DH, but Kinzer reportedly noted the $27.5 million-per-year price tag is a good comparable.
Kinzer previously told TSN that he hoped to secure a five-year contract for Encarnacion worth at least $125 million. He reportedly hasn’t discussed financial figures with the Jays since their initial contract offer.
“We won’t put any restrictions on any offer like years or anything,” Kinzer told TSN. “He’s going to decide where he’s comfortable. One of the things we have to look at is the big difference in the tax base between some of the teams that are interested. Plus, there’s a comfort level we need to consider.”
The Boston Red Sox have a need at DH after losing David Ortiz to retirement. However, a major league source told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford that the Red Sox “probably” won’t be a finalist for Encarnacion’s services. The Red Sox seemingly would prefer to sign a potential Ortiz replacement to a short-term deal, with Bradford pointing to Carlos Beltran as one possible option.
Encarnacion is coming off a 2016 season in which he hit .263 with 42 home runs, 127 RBIs and an .886 OPS. He’s hit 193 homers with a .912 OPS since the beginning of 2012.
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