In what has seemingly become the offseason of extensions (granted, most to avoid arbitration), it seems as if another may be added to that list before too long.
Word first broke late Tuesday evening from Shi Davidhi of SportsNet, that the Toronto Blue Jays and power-hitting first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnacion had entered into preliminary contract negotiations. This news comes as little surprise to anyone, as Encarnacion is one of ten pending free agents for the Jays.
Combined with fellow pending free agent Jose Bautista, the pair have made up one of the most dangerous power-hitting combinations in baseball over the past six seasons. The “Deadly Duo” that has terrorized pitchers since joining forces in 2010 became a “Terrifying Trio” with the addition of Josh Donaldson last offseason.
In 2015, Encarnacion continued his “elite” level offensive production, hitting .277/.372/.557 with 39 home runs and 111 RBIs. Encarnacion was a late bloomer, not achieving the “breakout season” until 2012, when he .280/.384/.557 with 42 round-trippers and 110 RBIs. Since that season, the right-handed slugger has finished each season in the top-10 of baseball in home runs, and has spent three of the last four seasons inside the top-10 in RBIs.
Encarnacion is primed for a big payday, as he’s coming off of a four-year, $37 million contract that he signed back in 2012. There seems to be very little doubt, that he will easily surpass his $10 million salary in 2015 with his next extension, and pure speculation says he could earn up to $20 million.
Nevertheless, with the Blue Jays shelling out the money to buy-out Josh Donaldson’s arbitration years earlier this winter, it seems that Toronto is willing to spend the money to keep this team together while their window for a championship is still open. Whether that mindset changes when it comes to the contracts of Encarnacion and Bautista still remains to be seen, but the Blue Jays look like they’re planning to remain competitive for a few more years.