The Blue Jays and slugger Edwin Encarnacion have reportedly not engaged in serious extension talks, but despite the looming deadline, it’s not time to panic
On Monday evening, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reported that the Toronto Blue Jays have not yet made their star designated hitter a multi-year offer as he enters his free agent season.
Encarnacion and his agent, Paul Kinzer, have set a deadline of opening day for all contract negotiations and will reportedly not participate in talks past that point, instead allowing him to focus on the 2016 season should a deal not be in place.
With seven weeks remaining until first pitch, however, this report still shouldn’t be worrying anybody in the slightest. Not yet.
“It’s not like we’re upset with anyone,” Kinzer told Morosi. “There’s plenty of time to work out a deal if they want to. Edwin loves it there. He’s talked about how, if he has another couple good seasons, he might have his number on the wall. But they [Shapiro and Atkins] are new, so they’re still getting to know everyone.”
Regardless of the eventual outcome, this is not the point that serious talks could have been expected at anyways. When the players soon report to Dunedin, Florida for spring training and all necessary minds are under one roof, talks can become more legitimate. For better or for worse. At this point, however, what could be seriously expected?
The negotiation of major league contracts is also bogged down in vocabulary too often, which is something that Blue Jays fans experience in the David Price saga.
Just because the Blue Jays did not make an “offer” to Price does not (in any way) mean they did not talk to his representatives or make some sort of effort. The lack of an official offer reading “X years and Y dollars” does not signal a lack of interest, it only signals that talks have not yet (or could not have) progressed to that point.
Encarnacion is not a cookie-cutter case, either.
As a designated hitter with little true defensive value, it is difficult to find a comfort zone with him contractually. Especially if he receives an added jolt of potential open market value from the National League adding the DH spot in 2017.
His age will be a factor in this too, especially as the organization looks down the road to his 37 and 38-year-old seasons. When the brain is put in front of the heart, it’s evident that many aging sluggers fall well below their contract value by that time in their careers.
That’s beyond the current point, however. The absence of a serious contract offer from the Blue Jays to Encarnacion in mid-February, even given his self-imposed deadline, is not a reason to worry.
Enjoy spring training. Take one final stress-free month before baseball sweeps over. If we can meet back here in late March and the story is the same, then we can talk about worry. Maybe.