Baseball’s signing season shifted into second gear Tuesday morning, and that’s Edwin Encarnacion taking the early lead in a race to a contract that his agent Paul Kinzer, via TSN’s Rick Westhea, has hung out as a five-year, $125-million proposition, with as many as 11 teams in the running.
Part of the dance toward that end came with the Blue Jays extending qualifying offers of $17.2 million to Encarnacion and Jose Bautista on Monday – Nov. 12 is the deadline to accept qualifying offers, though neither Encarnacion or Bautista are expected to do that – and with Tuesday morning marking the official time at which the market is open, the full free agency game is on.
At least as far as Encarnacion is concerned, Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports that Toronto is among the serious suitors, and lists the Texas Rangers as well. Another team that has made no secret this year of interest in Encarnacion is the Boston Red Sox, searching for a replacement for retired David Ortiz. Kinzer told WEEI’s Rob Bradford that Encarnacion “loves Boston” though perhaps Boston GM Dave Dombrowski is not so much a fan of Encarnacion, or at least that five-year contract length (the Mets, meantime, have reached out to Bautista, per the New York Post).
Expect to hear more of that kind of talk over the next while, until MLB sets down the luxury tax rules for next season and clubs decide whether to stay in this particular, expensive game. Whether Encarnacion is worth $125 million is one thing - the Washington Post's Neil Greenberg says no - but the market frequently says another. Really, there’s nothing guaranteed in this particular season other than that Edwin Encarnacion, turning 34 in January and coming off another year of power numbers (42 HRS, 127 RBI), is going to get a lot more than double the $10 million he was paid last year.
More Blue Jays coverage from Yahoo Canada Sports: