The Toronto Blue Jays could quickly feel the trickle-down of Yoenis Cespedes’ four-year, $110 million deal with the New York Mets.
According to multiple reports, the contract signed by Cespedes on Tuesday afternoon has increased the market value of free agent Edwin Encarnacion.
This move could also cause the free agent dominoes to begin falling. Soon after the deal was reported, Jim Bowden and Jerry Crasnick both tweeted out that the Houston Astros would likely be pursuing Encarnacion after missing out on Cespedes.
The majority of free agent signings up to this point could be classified as mid-level deals. Josh Reddick signed in Houston and the Blue Jays scooped up designated hitter Kendrys Morales, but in both cases there was a “bigger fish” at those positions (Cespedes and Fowler in the outfield, Encarnacion at 1B/DH). Now that teams can no longer dream on Cespedes, all eyes will begin to move down the list.
From R.A. Dickey to Bartolo Colon and Edinson Volquez, the pitching market hasn’t seen much impactful activity either. The relief market, led by Kenley Jansen, Aroldis Chapman, and Mark Melancon is where much of the pitching value lies.
Another potential fallout of the Cespedes contract for the Blue Jays is the availability of Jay Bruce.
The heavy-hitting outfielder has been linked to the Blue Jays a handful of times over the past two years, most notably in February when it appeared that a deal was finalized to send Bruce to Toronto from Cincinnati.
That three-way trade would have sent Michael Saunders to the Los Angeles Angels, but fell apart at the last minute due to concerns over the medicals of a player involved.
Bruce is an extremely limited player defensively, but does bring value with his bat. The 29-year-old put up 33 home runs and 99 RBI in 2016 between the Reds and Mets.
His contract, which pays him $13 million in 2017 on a team option that the Mets recently picked up, does not fit as easily in New York now. It’s still a very uncertain dollars-for-value salary, but there’s little reason for the Blue Jays to cease their interest at this point.