A series of tweets on Tuesday afternoon from the MLB Network’s Jon Heyman indicate that the Toronto Blue Jays may be willing to revisit contract talks with Edwin Encarnacion at the all-star break. This comes alongside his report that the Blue Jays initially offered him “two years plus vesting option(s)” this past offseason.
On the Jose Bautista front, Heyman reports that the Jays are believed to be comfortable with three years at $20 million plus per season. This lines up with reports earlier in the season of a “Yoenes Cespedes-type deal”. The 30-year-old Cespedes is currently in the first season of a three-year, $75 million deal with the New York Mets.
The most noteworthy, and newest, takeaway from these Heyman tweets is the possibility that Toronto could try to revisit talks with Encarnacion, who previously stated his desire to end all talks at the conclusion of spring training.
Otherwise, these represent logical starting points for Toronto and little more. Encarnacion and Bautista may not fetch the rich, five-year deals they both seek on the open market, so beginning at these points from Toronto’s side of the table will allow for the Blue Jays to work towards a middle ground if the time comes. Another “if” is whether or not the Blue Jays are willing to budge from these numbers in any way, but that is for time to tell.
As this continues throughout the summer (it’s not going away), one thing to watch for will be whether the Blue Jays set their preference in negotiating towards one player more than the other. The current structures of these offers or preferences seem to be with the intent of keeping both, which is understandable. But in the much more likely scenario that retaining just one of the stars is possible, does some of the planned offer set aside for the other then become “wiggle room” for the primary target?
One of the greatest values in these early numbers could be seeing which camp is quickest to show interest, or which player is most open to working towards Toronto’s comfort zone. Doing so could allow the team a grater level of clarity when (or…if) they choose to focus more closely on just one player.