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.
— Tim and Sid (@timandsid) December 23, 2016
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.
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”.