Edwin Encarnacion, 1B/DH, Toronto
Just three men have hit more home runs since 2010 than Edwin Encarnacion. That list includes a pair of future Hall-of-Famers in Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols. The other man, teammate Jose Bautista, could find his way into Cooperstown when all is said and done himself.
The past four seasons, only Chris Davis of the Orioles has more long balls (159) than Encarnacion (151) and only Miguel Cabrera (461) has driven in more runs than Edwin (423).
I mean, take a look at Encarnacion’s stat line from 2012-2015, in case you weren’t aware of how good this guy really is.
There’s a jolt to the pedestrian first base production we’ve grown accustomed to.
This offseason, Encarnacion set an Opening Day deadline for all contract negotiations with the Blue Jays. Reportedly, Encarnacion turned down a two-year offer from Toronto, saying that he was looking for four-years-plus.
Assuming that those contract negotiations don’t spring back up out of the blue, it appears very likely that Encarnacion is headed for free agency following the 2016 season.
Now, Toronto is absolutely loaded with talent (at least offensively). They have the most-feared lineup in baseball, and there are World Series aspirations for those that call the Canadian province of Ontario their home.
But the Jays are a middling 10-11 to start the 2016 campaign, and they have a retooled Boston team along with the very talented Baltimore Orioles to deal with. I don’t think you can ever write off the Yankees, either.
Let’s just say that things don’t work out for the Jays over a full 162 like they did down the stretch last season.
Depending on their feelings about their chances of keeping Encarnacion and the rest of that core together, could they entertain the idea of making sure they get something for him, as opposed to nothing should he sign elsewhere in free agency?
Remember, they don’t look like they will be retaining Bautista’s services after this year, either.
Here’s the cool thing about a potential Encarnacion deal. The main argument against (and rightly so) is going to be that we would likely have to give up young talent for an aging slugger who’ll probably sign somewhere else after the season anyways.
But remember, the Cards got a pair of compensatory first-round picks for missing out on Jason Heyward and John Lackey this past winter.
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