Despite signing Kendrys Morales last week, the Blue Jays have not given up hope of bringing back Edwin Encarnacion, according to Jon Heyman. Heyman reports that the club has offered the slugging first baseman and designated hitter a deal for four years and $80 million.
That’s a year and $5 million per year less than Encarnacion is reportedly seeking, and some are calling that offer “an insult,” to him. That’s silly, of course. The Jays absolutely should put their best offer forward, even if it’s unlikely enough to entice him. Given Encarnacion’s age (34) and the qualifying offer attached to him, it’s possible that his demands come down in the coming weeks. Still, given that clubs remain flush with cash, and Encarnacion is probably one of the two or three most dangerous hitters on the market, that figures to be on the low end of what he can expect.
Encarnacion has 193 homers over the last five years, while hitting .272/.367/.544. After a disappointing start to his career, he became one of the most feared sluggers in the game in Toronto. While he’s by no means a good defender, he is perfectly acceptable, especially in a league where slugging first basemen have become something of a rarity.
And it’s that rarity that should elevate him out of the Blue Jays’ price range. The Rangers, Yankees, Mariners, Astros, and Indians are all potential contenders who could use help at that position, even at the cost of a first round pick. Even if they have to overpay on the back end of any deal, they’ll surely be happy to have Encarnacion in the short term.