Connect with us

MLB

Mutual Interest Between Blue Jays, Edwin Encarnacion

Published

on

edwin-encarnacion-yankees-1024x693.jpg

Earlier this month, the Blue Jays were connected to the likes of Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, Justin Smoak and Edwin Encarnacion as they evaluated first base options. Less than two weeks later, both Tsutsugo and Smoak are off the board, but Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets that there’s mutual interest between Toronto and Encarnacion.
A match between the two sides would make for a nice reunion angle to sell to fans in what figures to be another transitional year in Toronto. The Jays have added some arms to the pitching staff in Tanner Roark, Chase Anderson and Shun Yamaguchi, but it’s tough to see them fully bouncing back from last year’s 67-win season — even with a full year of Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio in addition to the looming presence of additional prospects (namely, flamethrower Nate Pearson).
Pitching has been the primary focus for Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins, as he vowed at the onset of the offseason, but the Jays could certainly fit another first base/designated hitter option into the rotation. Rowdy Tellez, 25 in March, currently looks to be in line for regular at-bats on the 1B/DH carousel, but an Encarnacion reunion would surely deepen the lineup and bring a more formidable on-base presence to the fray than Tellez has offered in his young career (.299 OBP in 482 plate appearances).
Encarnacion hit .244/.344/.531 with 34 homers between the Mariners and Yankees last season — a strong output that’s more or less in the lines with what’s come to be expected of one of baseball’s most consistent sluggers. But despite his potent bat, it seems like he could struggle to find suitors willing to make offers commensurate with his production.
Let’s take a look at his potential market.
MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported last week that six clubs, including an NL team, have expressed interest in Encarnacion. Of course, “interest” is a rather subjective and nebulous term without further context, and it’s a bit hard to find that many teams with a path to a regular role for Encarnacion.
The White Sox met with his agents (per 670 The Score’s Bruce Levine) and could indeed be a sensible fit if they’re comfortable rotating Encarnacion and Jose Abreu at first base. The Blue Jays fit is reasonable, too. The Rangers make some sense as well, but signing Encarnacion basically commits to playing either him or Shin-Soo Choo in the field on a daily basis. It’s not a bad situation, however, particularly given the steady production offered by both.
The rest of the AL West features three teams with firmly set 1B/DH options (A’s, Astros, Angels) as well as another that traded Encarnacion away in 2019 and just signed its hopeful first baseman of the future to a long-term deal (Mariners, Evan White).
Over in the Central, it doesn’t seem likely that rebuilding clubs in Kansas City or Detroit will spend aggressively. The Twins have Nelson Cruz, who didn’t play an inning of defense in 2019, at DH. They’d need to commit to full-time first base reps for Encarnacion, which seems unlikely. The Indians, like the Mariners, have traded Encarnacion in the past calendar year. They also already have Carlos Santana and July acquisition Franmil Reyes in the mix.
In the AL East, the Yankees may prefer to keep their DH slot open to help rotate their corner outfielders, while Luke Voit and Mike Ford are options at first base. The Rays just signed Tsutsugo and have a crowded 1B/DH mix. We know the Orioles aren’t likely to spend on any notable free agent. The Red Sox have J.D. Martinez entrenched at DH and an opening at first base. But, as is the case in relation to the Twins or any NL club, it’s a bit tough to see Encarnacion as an everyday first baseman in his age-37 season. He’s never even played 700 innings at first base in a season.
The Blue Jays, White Sox and Rangers look like the best on-paper fits for Encarnacion, making the mutual interest between the slugger and Toronto all the more notable.

Source link

Continue Reading
Advertisement accuscore.com
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

MLB

Ryan Braun Discusses Future – MLB Trade Rumors

Published

on

USATSI_13423166-1024x683.jpg

Franchise icon Ryan Braun is entering the final guaranteed season of the contract extension he signed with the Brewers nearly a decade ago. Now 36, the former MVP is nearing the end of a storied career. In fact, it’s not out of the question that 2020 could prove to be his final season, he acknowledged to reporters (including Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) today at Fan Fest.
“I don’t take for granted this could be my last year playing baseball,” Braun told reporters. “It’s definitely a possibility,” he elaborated when asked if he would contemplate retirement after the 2020 season. “We’ll see how the year goes, see where I’m at physically. Obviously, my family’s always my top priority, so we’ll see how everything’s going then.”
Needless to say, that’s hardly a declaration that he’ll certainly hang up the spikes. He added that he doesn’t anticipate making a final decision until after this season, when he can reevaluate his health and family situation as well as the team’s outlook. Braun’s contract does come with a $15MM mutual option for 2021, but mutual options are rarely exercised. Typically, the price point is either high enough that the team would prefer to buy the player out or low enough that the player would rather explore free agency. In Braun’s case, it seems likely the Brewers would buy Braun out for $4MM rather than exercise their end.
That’s not to say, however, that Braun won’t be a key factor on Milwaukee’s 2020 outlook. He’s coming off a strong 2019 effort, in which he hit .285/.343/.505 (117 wRC+) in 508 plate appearances. The club anticipates him taking a similar number of plate appearances this season, he told reporters today. The longtime corner outfielder confirmed that some of that work figures to come at first base, where he’s played just 18 career games (all in 2018). Milwaukee’s corner outfield mix is crowded, with offseason signee Avisaíl García joining MVP candidate Christian Yelich and Ben Gamel. Yelich, notably, is at full strength for spring training after a knee injury ended his 2019 season in September, he told reporters today (including Haudricourt).
Today’s comments from Braun are perhaps unsurprising; that a 36-year-old player may at least entertain thoughts of retirement after the season won’t raise many eyebrows. Nevertheless, it’s notable to hear Braun verbalize the possibility. He is, as mentioned, still a productive hitter. In all fourteen of his MLB seasons, he’s been above-average at the dish by measure of wRC+. He’s certainly unlikely to return to the vaunted offensive force he was in his prime, but Braun still figures to be a valuable player in 2020. Should he again produce at the plate, he’d no doubt draw interest from teams next offseason, if he chooses to keep playing.

Source link

Continue Reading

MLB

Astros Interview Mark Kotsay For Manager

Published

on

USATSI_12197997.jpg

The Astros interviewed A’s quality control coach Mark Kotsay last week as part of their ongoing search for A.J. Hinch’s replacement, reports Brian McTaggart of MLB.com (via Twitter). Kotsay becomes the ninth known candidate in Houston’s wide-ranging managerial search.
Kotsay also drew consideration from the Giants and Pirates for their vacancies earlier in the offseason, but he ultimately lost out to Gabe Kapler and Derek Shelton, respectively. He has no MLB managerial expereience, but he’s worked in the Padres’ front office and on the Pads’ and A’s coaching staffs since retiring as a player in 2013.
Kotsay joins Joe Espada, Eduardo Pérez and Will Venable as potential first-time managers to sit down with Houston. The Astros have also interviewed former MLB skippers Brad Ausmus, Dusty Baker, Jeff Banister, John Gibbons and Buck Showalter.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

We use cookies in order to give you the best possible experience on our website. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies.
Accept
Privacy Policy