Jon Morosi of Fox Sports is reporting that the Blue Jays have not made the designated hitter a multi-year contract offer this offseason. Morosi, who recently spoke to Encarnacion’s agent, Paul Kinzer, said that the deadline to cut off talks on Opening Day remains in place and that formal negotiations have yet to take place.
“When I talked to Kinzer (Monday), he said Edwin has expressed that he doesn’t want to have conversations about his contract during the season,” Morosi said on a guest appearance on Dean Blundell & Co., Tuesday morning on Sportsnet 590 The Fan. “That’s how he feels. He feels the (Blue) Jays are going to honour that. Once players get into their free-agent year, it’s almost rare that players ever sign. Hunter Pence did it one year but you almost never see it happen. Once you’re this close to free agency, when you’re a player of Encarnacion’s calibre, he will want his fair market value.
“He loves playing in Toronto. Edwin feels if he has a couple more seasons, he might have his number retired there. He’s been that good for the Jays. It’s a real psychological thing. There’s a tremendous incentive to just take it into free agency. I really think it’s a firm deadline there for Opening Day.”
Encarnacion, 33, hit .277/.372/.557 with 39 home runs and 111 RBI in 146 games last season. His 151 home runs since 2012 are second only to Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles in the majors.
Another big story surrounding the Blue Jays throughout the winter has been the changing dynamic of the front office.
New president Mark Shapiro and general manager Ross Atkins have considered to be polarizing figures amongst the Blue Jays fan base but according to Morosi, the new management team has made a good first impression on the players that have already arrived in Florida for spring training.
"I checked in with a (Blue) Jays player (recently) and I was told the players there that have already reported are very impressed with the new leadership group of Shapiro and Atkins and how they’ve handled things from a standpoint of basic player services, making sure players have the resources they need," said Morosi. "That goes into everything...with the way they have done things from a standpoint of player services, making sure players have the resources they need. That goes into everything.
"Shapiro and Atkins have a chance to be very successful in Toronto because they’re very culture-focused," Morosi added. "They’re very much concerned of how certain players fit their roster. They want to build one that they see as sustainable."
Shapiro was hired to replace long-time team president Paul Beeston following the 2015 season. After Shapiro joined the club, Alex Anthopoulos turned down a five-year offer to remain as the club's general manager, and instead chose to walk away from the organization at the end of his contract before eventually landing a front-office job with the Los Angeles Dodgers last month. He was replaced by Atkins.