Toronto Blue Jays News

Sherman: Blue Jays have no intention of signing Bautista, Encarnacion

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May 5, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays right field Jose Bautista (19) pats teammate designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (10) to celebrate their victory over the Texas Rangers at Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays won 12-2. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports
May 5, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays right field Jose Bautista (19) pats teammate designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (10) to celebrate their victory over the Texas Rangers at Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays won 12-2. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports /
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Sherman writes that the Blue Jays have “no intention” of bringing back their stars on expiring deals

The New York Post’s Joel Sherman has had his finger on the pulse of the Toronto Blue Jays in the past. Today, he’s reporting that the Blue Jays do not intend to re-sign Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion when their contracts expire at the end of this season.

Yes, we’re back on this topic [again].

This report comes as part of a piece in which Sherman imagines the impact on the trade market should the Jays open themselves to dealing Bautista at the upcoming trade deadline. He similarly explores Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates and Chris Archer of the Rays.

“Teams generally do not trade from their major league rosters when contending. But could Toronto be a special case?” he asks.

Well, off the top, let’s tackle the under-discussed elephant in the room, one that also applies to Encarnation. Both players have 10 & 5 rights, meaning they have at least 10 years of major league service, the last five with their current club. With these 10 & 5 rights, a player cannot be traded unless they approve it.

So each (and every) time you hear another shouting-into-caves plea for the Blue Jays to trade one of Bautista or Encarnacion, remember: it’s not that simple.

Beyond the narrow possibility of Toronto falling completely off the MLB map in the coming 30 days, these trade talks will remain far outside of realistic conversations. There is, however, an important takeaway here with Sherman’s report on the club’s intent to let both sluggers walk.

The mood has seemed to slowly shift in this direction since the optimism of spring training, and of course, it’s always best to consider all available reports as a composite of the situation’s reality.

Even beyond the reports, however, allowing both Bautista and Encarnacion to walk in free agency does fit with Mark Shapiro’s history in Cleveland. You’ll often hear “29 and decline” used to describe this philosophy, having star players approach 30 (or older), but then allowing other teams to overpay for their final contracts and declining years.

This strategy is neither good or bad, that’s something that can only be determined on a player-by-player basis. While Encarnacion’s power numbers have been a model of consistency and Bautista is an impressive physical specimen for his age, Major League Baseball is littered with albatross contracts for aging players. In two years, it’s entirely within the realm of possibility that Shapiro looks smart for letting his stars walks and collecting the two first round draft picks.

For now, all Blue Jays fans can do it roll with the punches. And remember: 10 & 5.

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