Encarnacion’s return to Blue Jays looking increasingly dim

Shi Davidi and Hazel Mae break down the latest chatter about the Blue Jays, who are apparently making a push for Mitch Moreland and more likely passing on Edwin Encarnacion.

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – Carlos Beltran is going to the Houston Astros, Matt Holliday is off to the New York Yankees and the question being asked over and over at the winter meetings is where does Edwin Encarnacion now end up?

The possibilities of a return to the Toronto Blue Jays seemed increasingly dim Sunday at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, as Mitch Moreland emerged as a real possibility, according to multiple industry sources.

How exactly the Gold Glover might fit the roster was unclear – the Blue Jays gave fellow first baseman Justin Smoak an $8.25-million, two-year extension in July – but Moreland also has 47 games and 309.2 innings of experience in a big-league outfield. The left-handed hitter has a career OPS of .754.

Moreland, 31, would be the second major big-league addition for the Blue Jays of the off-season, as DH Kendrys Morales signed a $33-million, three-year deal in early November.

That signing appeared to mark the end Encarnacion’s time in Toronto, where he blossomed into a three-time all-star and carved out a place in Blue Jays lore with his walk-off homer against the Baltimore Orioles in the wild-card game this past October.

Some speculation circled earlier Sunday that the elite slugger could still find his way back, but now it looks like his future lies elsewhere.

Where exactly that is remains a topic of much conjecture, with the Astros and Yankees now off the table as possible landing spots. The Texas Rangers, long thought by some to be the logical landing spot for Encarnacion, are believed to be prioritizing a centre-fielder at the moment.

Including Morales, the Blue Jays have roughly $123.4 million committed to 14 players if the projections for their four arbitration-eligible players are included.

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