Though early in the offseason, it looks as if Edwin Encarnacion overplayed his hand with key suitors dropping out of the race for the Dominican slugger. But did the Blue Jays wait long enough for Encarnacion to make a decision?
“BLUE JAYS RE-SIGN STAR SLUGGER, PARROT MAN, AND FAN FAVOURITE EDWIN ENCARNACION TO A MULTI-YEAR CONTRACT.” — Toronto fans were waiting for this headline from the start of 2016 spring training, for the new regime to show faith in the current core of players by re-signing Encarnacion to a lucrative multi-year contract extension.
However, just one month into this offseason, it looks as though the Blue Jays will be fielding a foreign team to many fans, one without beloved sluggers Encarnacion and Bautista, two of the most prolific hitters in franchise history.
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At Least They Tried
To Blue Jays fans frustrated at Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins, it will seem as if management never intended to bring back Encarnacion, similar to the David Price situation last year. But you have to give the front office credit for making an attempt at a reunion by extending a four-year, $80 million dollar offer, hardly a below-market value deal.
Sure, some fans will want Rogers to finally open up their wallets and give Edwin whatever he wants, but unfortunately, these could be the same fans that in a few years, will scrutinize the general manager for locking up too much payroll in one player. One thing is clear with the current management style: There is more emphasis on a business style of operation that limits the decisions influenced by past contributions and avoids rash, reactionary moves.
Not What Anyone Expected
The Blue Jays submitted their offer during a “quiet” period, when Encarnacion wanted to explore the market for the first time in his career. After initially rejecting Toronto’s offer, he likely expected more competition from teams like the Red Sox, Yankees, and Astros that could drive up his market value. Unfortunately for Paul Kintzer and his client, early reports from the winter meetings suggest Encarnacion’s suitors dwindling to the point that just Cleveland and a mystery team are showing interest, a far cry from the 5-10 teams (including the Jays) that were expected to bid for the slugger’s services.
What Could Have Been?
With hindsight, it’s hard not to wonder if the Jays moved on too early from one of their franchise players. Perhaps if they waited a few more weeks, they could have watched the market develop favourably to their chances at resigning Encarnacion. The initial offer of four years and $80 million may have even been the offer that the Dominican slugger accepted. As usual with hindsight, everything is pure speculation but this doesn’t prevent me from wondering what could have been.
I’ll turn the tables and ask you the same question: did the Blue Jays move on too early from their beloved franchise player?