Blue Jays: Encarnacion contract talks take on steadier feel
The ongoing negotiations between the Blue Jays and slugger Edwin Encarnacion are taking a calmer approach despite the hard deadline of opening day
Edwin Encarnacion doesn’t seem intent on rocking the boat in Toronto.
While fellow Blue Jays star and countryman Jose Bautista has stolen the headlines this week with a contract negotiation that is becoming increasingly public, Encarnacion took a quieter approach to his pending free agency when he spoke with the media on Friday in Dunedin.
Encarnacion, now 33, is set to make $10 million in the final year of his deal.
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“I want to stay on this team,”the slugger told Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com. I love this team and I love the city, but it doesn’t depend on me. It depends on what they think. I hope we get it done so I can stay here the rest of my career.”
He also explained his self-imposed negotiating deadline of opening day, referencing his 2012 contract that was signed mid-season. “I want to concentrate to help this team to win games, I don’t want to talk anything about contracts because I want to be 100 percent focused on my game.”
While limited in defensive value (or maybe not?), Encarnacion’s power consistency over the past four seasons has been top-shelf with home run totals of 42, 36, 34, and 39.
Despite being tagged as being somewhat injury-prone, Encarnacion has also averaged 142 games per season over that span with a mammoth .919 OPS.
An underrated factor in these negotiations is the potential that the National League adpots the designated hitter in 2017. This would add 15 more teams to the market on Encarnacion if viewed as a strict DH, many of whom would not have a shoo-in for that job on their current roster.
Encarnacion’s negotiations, of course, are also linked to those of Bautista. This could very easily turn into a game of choice, but it doesn’t appear he’s being as assertive as Bautista in establishing a hard number on his value.
“A number? Yeah, 40 homers.”