Blue Jays extend qualifying offers to Encarnacion, Bautista

As the clock ticks towards MLB free agency, there are some indications that the Toronto Blue Jays are making a significant push to keep Edwin Encarnacion with the team, or at the very least, give him and his agent something to seriously consider.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The Toronto Blue Jays have extended $17.2 million qualifying offers to free agents Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista but not to Michael Saunders, who is free to sign with other clubs without the penalty of a compensatory draft pick.

The offers, made ahead of Monday’s 5 p.m. ET deadline, will be rejected by the two sluggers, who are among the top offensive players poised to hit the open market at 12:01 a.m. ET Tuesday when free agents can begin negotiating with all 30 teams.

The cost of a draft pick to sign a qualified free agent can reduce interest in a player, but that won’t affect Encarnacion or Bautista.

Saunders, on the other hand, may have faced a much tougher market if he was tied to a qualifying offer, making him more likely to accept the strong salary for one season. After an all-star worthy first half gave way to a quiet second half, the Blue Jays didn’t feel they could risk paying him that much.

The Blue Jays extended Marco Estrada a qualifying offer last fall, choking off the right-hander’s free agency. He re-signed for $26 million over two years.

Players have until 5 p.m. ET Nov. 14 to make a decision on their qualifying offer.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.