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The Plot Thickens: New Developments in the Blue Jays’ Offer to Edwin Encarnacion

Breakups are never easy and are often messy. Whenever two sides are together this long, it’s difficult to emotionally detach People get hurt, things get left behind and mudslinging frequently occurs after both sides part ways.

The Toronto Blue Jays and Edwin Encarnacion are no exception.

Barely 24 hours after it was initially reported that Edwin Encarnacion would sign with the Cleveland Indians (pending a physical), additional details are trickling down in to the Blue Jays’ offers towards Edwin Encarnacion.



Not only did the Blue Jays reportedly offer Edwin Encarnacion the most money and the most term, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet let it slip that the Blue Jays may have been willing to go to a fifth year with Edwin Encarnacion for a total value of close to $100 million.

I know what you’re thinking; this is just PR spin from the Toronto Blue Jays front office. But Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star corroborated similar information and even added a few details:

Sources have told the Star that the Jays had budged (bulged) “creatively” past the $80 million over four years they offered at the end of the season — to $80 million guaranteed plus vested (meeting certain performance incentive thresholds) or options that maxed out at $100 million.

That deal was still on the table after Toronto inked Morales.

Now, the plot thickens. The fact that similar details are emerging from two completely separate sources (Sportsnet and the Toronto Star) makes me believe this story could be legitimate.

I’d be surprised if the Blue Jays were willing to go to five years and $100 million for Edwin Encarnacion, but if they were willing to go four years and $80 million, what’s another $20 million at that point? Especially if it’s a vesting option or club option.

For argument’s sake, let’s just say all of this is true; the Blue Jays were willing to give Edwin Encarnacion upwards of a five-year $100 million contract. And let’s say the Blue Jays also gave Edwin a one-week window to either accept or pass on that offer.

Can you really blame the Blue Jays for moving on if Edwin Encarnacion’s camp declined that contract?

Let’s theorize here; the second Edwin Encarnacion hits the open market, his asking price goes up. One of the heavy-hitters like the Yankees or Red Sox would surely get involved and the Blue Jays would’ve had to overpay significantly to compete with those offers on the open market.

It just so happens that the Yankees went in a completely different direction, as did the Red Sox, same as the Astros, and virtually any other team which was an ideal for Edwin Encarnacion. His agent had to regroup, and naturally, he likely came crawling back to the Blue Jays … but buy then, it was already too late.



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When free agency opened, I’ll admit that four years and $80 million seemed a little low for Encarnacion’s services. Most experts estimated he would receive well north of $100 million in free agency, let alone the $60 million guaranteed EE settled on from the Indians.

I’ve heard a lot of criticism towards Marks Shapiro, Ross Atkins and Toronto Blue Jays ownership in relation to this whole Edwin Encarnacion ordeal. But what else were they supposed to do? In their minds, they had a maximum they could go to for Encarnacion … and anything further than that was simply cost prohibitive for the Blue Jays.

It feels like Edwin Encarnacion and Paul Kinzer were holding out this whole time for the Blue Jays, Meanwhile, the Blue Jays were aggressive on Kendrys Morales and moved quickly because they wanted to at least get something done … even if that meant overpaying a tad for Morales.

Let’s present this scenario for a second; what if the Blue Jays missed out on Edwin Encarnacion – who signs with a division rival (Boston or New York) – and Kendrys Morales goes elsewhere, leaving the Blue Jays scrambling to find a DH for next year. How much scrutiny would’ve the front office taken if that scenario played out?

At least the Blue Jays got something; at least they signed someone. If Atkins and Shapiro were to play it safe and sit back, they could’ve been left with nobody.

I’m not confident if Kendrys Morales will match Edwin Encarnacion’s production in 2017, but for only $11 million per year, it’s a risk I’m willing to take. Moving from a pitcher-friendly park to a hitter-friendly park can only do wonders for Morales.

There’s no question that the Blue Jays front office and Edwin Encarnacion are both paying damage control right now. The information leaked to Shi Davidi and Rosie DiManno may in fact be the Blue Jays’ attempt to save face with the fans.

However, I’ll give the Blue Jays credit for this; they played this much better than Paul Kinzer ever did for his client. Kinzer came on this week sounding desperate, and ultimately he and Edwin Encarnacion left money on the table.

It’s hard to blame the Toronto Blue Jays from moving on from Edwin Encarnacion. He was a big part of the Blue Jays’ success, but Shapiro/Akins had a cap on what they were willing to spend to bring Edwin back.

If there’s an iota of truth to any of this, the Blue Jays were right to move on … and Edwin Encarnacion was the one who was wrong to say “so long”.



Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez “mine” incident. He’ll also retell the story of Game 5 of the ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

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8 Comments

  1. Glenn

    December 24, 2016 - 1:47 pm

    You wonderfully omit the 2 year low ball offer in pre season, after that would you as a player be inclined to give up your chance to at least check out the market you waited 9 years for? It is exactly like the AA move, JAys insult with low ball crap then reap with a big offer to make themselves look good, knowing full well it wont be accepted do the the intentional animosity they manufactured earlier. I feel like I m on the US being fed corporate spin with Rogers owning the Jays and Sportsnet. Like last year saying they had already committed to Shapiro when they went on a tear, utter crap, if it was true why would they have attempted to speak with Dombrowski After the trade deadline!!!!!

    I left when Riccardi was screwing everything up, I am leaving now, see you in a decade once these clowns have been replaced. Hope I am wrong and have to eat crow but seriously doubt it.

    1. A Bert

      December 24, 2016 - 3:49 pm

      Thanks Glenn, couldn’t have said it better myself, though I fear that the Jays make so much money for their loathsome owners that we’re stuck with them forever. I think the best we can hope for is that they miraculously get past the bad experience of guys like Caudill and Joey Hamilton and embrace the philosophy of developing bats and buying arms.

    2. Ian Hunter

      December 25, 2016 - 2:43 pm

      It could’ve been a two year offer- what if it was structured similarly to Cespedes with an opt out? I’ll admit that two years is a low-ball offer, but Atkins/Shapiro were just coming in fresh to the organization – at year’s end, they had a much better sense of the player they were offering a contract to.

  2. Tbjese

    December 25, 2016 - 11:04 am

    Why is nobody picking up on the fact that adding a team option makes this offer worse?

    That is not a $100M offer. That is an $80M offer with an encumbrance. This is the most nonsensical spin I’ve ever heard.

    1. Ian Hunter

      December 25, 2016 - 2:41 pm

      It could escalate as high as $100 million, which is the largest total we’ve heard so far. It gives the club the upper hand, but that could be added motivation for EE to activate that club option.

  3. BPJAYSFAN?

    December 28, 2016 - 8:41 pm

    It is Shapiro and Atkins job to know the market and negotiate with the players agents, if they are that far from knowing what the market is, we as Jays fans are in for some rough days.

    They are either incompetent or it was never their intention to sign him. JD, Happ and Martin will be on the block by July. This is plan A! Get the team in a position to be able to sell at the trade deadline.

  4. Ron

    December 29, 2016 - 1:02 pm

    You guys are soooo far out to lunch… Firstly, this is a BUSINESS… Not your personal play thing … Facts: EE wanted $125 million over 5-years and the Jays set a limit on what they felt was financially feasible . The two didn’t see eye to eye. Give them some credit, the Yankees and the Red Sox also backed away . When it’s too rich to sign another aging star for those two teams, that alone speaks volumes. Let’s do this: Leave your real names here so that you can be held accountable for your ridicules comments. I’ll do the same. At the end of the first year , let’s analyze the EE season and measure the results. Remember, it’s a business, not just something you can mouth about . This way, like the Jays, you’ll be measured by what you say and would have done.
    Kinda changes your resolve , right?
    Thought so !!!

    1. A Bert

      December 30, 2016 - 1:34 pm

      You sound like a Rogers employee Ron so no, your comments come across as harsh and would only strengthen the resolve of the Jays fans you’re bashing.
      The distinction I think you’re missing is that Labatt’s ran the Jays like a business but they were classy, voluntarily renegotiated the last three years of Dave Stieb’s contract to pay him a higher amount in recognition of his years of service.
      I can understand the corporate greed of Rogers not paying top dollar or going past four years on player contracts but they have routinely lied like when they said they offered Carlos Beltran a contract.
      The Rays and Jays are the only two teams with artificial turf so any baseball fan would look at the fact that Rogers paid just 5% of what it cost taxpayers to build SkyDome and wonder how on earth they couldn’t sink some of those savings into a natural grass solution.
      You are obviously good with THAT business decision but don’t go slamming us Fans for expecting a little more from a corporate giant that can afford to pay BILLIONS for the tv rights to HNIC

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