Are the Astros still trying to sign Edwin Encarnacion, Jim Bowden says that they are among the teams with offers out?
If you have listened to Talking Stros, you would know that we thought there was a chance. While the Houston Astros lineup is loaded, adding a bat like Edwin Encarnacion is a game changer. A rumor by Jim Bowden yesterday indicates that the Astros are one of five teams who have offers out for Encarnacion. Joel Sherman and Ken Rosenthal have also mentioned that the Astros could sign him. They said that he is the top hitter on the market.
Bowden mentions that two of the teams are going at a rapid pace and that all the offers are multi-year deals. He also said that a few of the deals have opt-out clauses in their contracts similar to what Yoenis Cespedes had. While you might think that would be a total Astros move, it would be unusual for them to do so and lose what is the 15th overall pick in the 2017 draft.
If the Astros were to risk losing a first round pick, they would most likely want to sign that type of player for multiple years. Sherman asked Encarnacion’s agent Paul Kinzer if his client could sign an opt out after one-year type contract. His agent felt that with the draft pick attached hurts him doing what Cespedes did last year.
Why is Encarnacion still unsigned?
Are you surprised that a hitter is still available like Encarnacion a few days away from Christmas? Most people around baseball are as well. There are similar hitters to Encarnacion on the market in Mike Napoli, Mark Trumbo, and Chris Carter. Any team that misses out on Encarnacion could turn to the rest of the guys. But Encarnacion is one of those bats who can lead a team to the playoffs.
So why is he still a free agent? As I mentioned earlier, the qualifying offer and the new CBA did not see luxury tax threshold increase drastically. The new CBA wasn’t really agreed upon until the final hours before the old CBA expired. It was reported that Encarnacion turned down a four-year $80 million dollar offer from the Blue Jays. He was reportedly seeking a five-year deal, but teams were not ready to commit that long to a 34-year-old.
He could now be looking at a three-year deal with most teams. The Astros were very much involved with Encarnacion, but they were going after Carlos Beltran hard. They could have waited for Encarnacion to make his decision, but the Astros signed Beltran while they could. The Yankees did something similar by signing Matt Holliday.
The odds are not high, but if the Astros sign him…
Should the Astros still sign Encarnacion, look for them to do so with a 3-4 year deal worth about $21 million per year. My Talking Stros co-host suggested they could backload the contract a little. On the show, we also eliminated the chances of him going to Oakland and Indians. The biggest threat could end up being the Rangers, but their GM keeps hinting that they are not in it. Returning to Toronto is possible, but I don’t see that happening.
The Cardinals are another option that I have read about, but it is not really their style. They have all the Astros notes on Encarnacion already. Just kidding there, but they didn’t re-sign Albert Pujols at an advanced age, why would the do so with Encarnacion now?
Rosenthal said that a team would make a mistake by not signing Encarnacion and will regret it. All the talk about all the teams could be agent talk. Rosenthal also listed the WAR, and Encarnacion had a 3.9 WAR, better than Trumbo’s 2.2. Rosenthal also mentioned that the Rangers should be concerned with the Astros getting Encarnacion and he even laid out a projected lineup.
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Possible roster implications.
If the Astros did sign Encarnacion, it would cut into the playing time of Nori Aoki, Jake Marisnick, and Evan Gattis. We had A.J. Hinch on last night’s Talking Stros. He mentioned that we would see a straight platoon between Brian McCann and Gattis. However, Gattis would most likely not be playing DH while McCann catches. Beltran is currently the primary DH, with George Springer, Jose Altuve, and others getting days off from the field.
Should the Astros sign Encarnacion, it would push Beltran to the outfield. Do the Astros need Encarnacion? Probably not, but the longer this drags out, the more I think he lands in Houston. This would be one of the most dynamic offenses in team history, but I will curb my enthusiasm until we hear Astros only talk concerning Encarnacion. Happy Holidays!
Listen to what A.J. Hinch had to say on the lineup, the rotation, and other items on last night’s Talking Stros.
***Stats and player information from Baseball-Reference***