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Edwin Encarnacion Is Looking For A 5-Year, $125 Million Deal

ALCS - Cleveland Indians v Toronto Blue Jays - Game Four

This offseason, if you’re looking to add a power bat, you’re not going to have many places to turn to.

You’ve got Mark Trumbo, Yoenis Cespedes, Jose Bautista, Justin Turner, and Mike Napoli. But the top name undoubtedly will be Edwin Encarnacion, who blasted 42 bombs, 34 doubles, and tied David Ortiz for the most RBI in the American League with 127. He’s the top dog, and he reportedly wants top dog money. According to Encarnacion’s agent, the 33-year-old slugger is going to be looking for a five-year deal worth $125 million from whomever he decides to sign with. His agent added that around ten teams are going to be interested in Encarnacion, which is complete bullshit, because I can’t imagine there are ten teams who have both the need and the funds to acquire said player, and the agent also said that he’s using Chris Davis’ seven-year, $161 million deal with the Orioles last offseason as a benchmark for Encarnacion’s deal this offseason.

So, if the whole 10+ interested teams thing is a crock of shit, then who can we actually narrow the suitors down to? Well, the obvious — the Toronto Blue Jays claim to want to retain his services, yet they haven’t opened up their wallets for a significant free agent contract since friggin’ Vernon Wells. Then you’ve got the Red Sox, who don’t necessarily need to sign a full-time DH to replace David Ortiz, but they do have to find a way to replace Ortiz’s offensive production in their lineup, which is actually impossible, but Encarnacion is the closest thing to it. Also, I guess the Yankees are a dark horse for Encarnacion’s services, and they’ve got big money coming off the books, so you never know.

I feel like the Blue Jays are going to treat this Encarnacion situation the same way that the Red Sox treated the Johnny Damon situation in 2005-06. They’ll offer him just enough money to make it look like they tried to re-sign him, knowing that somebody will outbid their offer and the player signs elsewhere. Encarnacion gave the Blue Jays every opportunity to re-sign him during spring training. He was very open about wanting to stay in Toronto, and was willing to exclusively negotiate with the Blue Jays, and the organization offered him a two-year deal with a vesting option for a third, which they had to know was going to get rejected. Now, they have to compete with several other organizations, and Toronto is frugal enough as it is, so if they didn’t make much of an effort to sign Encarnacion when his price would’ve been much cheaper during the spring, I highly doubt they’re going to pay extra now that his number will have gone up as a free agent coming off a monster season.

On the other hand, the Blue Jays have never been more popular than they are right now, so it would send a very piss poor message to a growing fan base if they let both Bautista and Encarnacion walk. I’d imagine they’re going to let Bautista walk, given his age, bout with injuries and dip in production this year. Perhaps Toronto looked at 2016 as a competition to see who they’d re-sign out of those two. If that’s the case, then Encarnacion wins. I just still have a hard time envisioning them paying the guy even more money that they already refused to pay him this past spring. Using that logic, Boston makes the most sense.