Blue Jays Trade Rumors: Is Edwin Encarnacion a Trade Chip?


Big things are coming for Major League Baseball. All eyes will be on the All Star Game in Cincinnati. The July 31st Non-Waiver Trade Deadline is approaching. The Mid-Summer Classic will draw lots of viewers, especially during the Home Run Derby that will see Blue Jay, Josh Donaldson bring some rain. But, for many fans, the real attention grabber this month will be that period leading up to the Trade Deadline. What will the Toronto Blue Jays do?

It is no secret that this club needs starting pitching help. Even people who are not fans of the Blue Jays say “Man, that team needs pitching.” It is known. And, for the last few weeks now, we’ve been hearing tiny rumblings about just who could be the one to bring in that miracle cure for a rather ineffective starting rotation. Recently, GM, Alex Anthopoulos went on the Tim & Sid show and said he’d be open to trading from the major league roster if it facilitated the right deal. This prompted those rumblings to turn into theories.

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One such theory is that the Toronto Blue Jays should trade Edwin Encarnacion for pitching help.’s Mike Wilner took to stating why this is a very highly unlikely scenario. Wilner states that any team that is looking for a bat to help with a playoff push is likely not in the position to offer up pitching. As well, Encarnacion recently became a 10-5 guy (10 years of service, 5 with the same team), so it would be more difficult to get a trade done given he needs to give his blessing. These are two very good reasons that the chicken wing will not be leaving Toronto any time soon. 

Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays /

Toronto Blue Jays

But, Wilner is missing a couple things. Keegan and I discussed the possibility of trading EE on the last episode of the Jays’ Nest Podcast. We agree with Wilner that a team who needs a big bat like Edwin’s is looking to add power to a contending lineup. They likely have pitching (hence the trade) to offer. How many contending teams are there that have excess pitching that they can dangle as trade bait? And, Edwin would not likely agree to being traded to a team that is out of contention.

But, there is more to think about. How about the fact that having Edwin’s bat also means you have to have his glove? We all remember watching him struggle playing third base. It was painful for us to watch. It was painful, not just because of the errors, but also because you could visibly see the frustration getting to Encarnacion. The situation got so bad that the Blue Jays let him go and no one claimed him or anything. No one saw value in Encarnacion anymore. At least not at third base. The word got out that he is a liability there. That might not actually be all that fair given that since 2010 he’s been worth -14 DRS. You would think that it would be much worse. It was in Cincinnati before he came to Toronto at -41 in three seasons. 

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But, the Blue Jays brought him back and would not let him on that side of the diamond. The switch to first base has been a blessing for Encarnacion. He doesn’t have to worry about struggling defensively. It is even better that he spends a great deal of time hitting out of the DH spot. Which brings up the other problem with his glove. Edwin’s back isn’t really up to the task of playing everyday at first base. So, the bulk of his time should come as DH. That eliminates half the teams in MLB from possibly acquiring the slugger.

Given all of the above, just how much value does Edwin have to anyone other than the Blue Jays? This lineup is the best in baseball. And, many will say that they don’t need Edwin to win. They’d be fine without him. And, there may be something to that. As Wilner points out, the big numbers are there for Edwin this year again. 17 HR and 51 RBI are pretty appealing. But, the rest doesn’t look so good. he already has 63 strike outs when he had 82 all of last season. This year’s total has already passed his 2013 total. He’s also hitting just .239. And, while that might be impacted by a .242 BABIP, we can definitely say that Encarnacion is having a down year. Wilner suggests that this is because of age. And, it may be.

But, the point is that the value that Encarnacion presents in our eyes might be quite skewed and likely varies form the value other GMs see. Now, none of this is to suggest that Edwin Encarnacion is over rated or anything ridiculous like that. It is not to say that he has no value as a player. His 15 WAR since 2010 tells us differently. What all of this does point to, though is that the Toronto Blue Jays will not likely be getting the pitching help they need by trading Edwin.

Next: Is Neftali Feliz an Option for the Blue Jays?

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