“The realization that he probably won’t be a Blue Jay” has started to sink in, Kinzer told The Jeff Blair Show on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Wednesday. Although Encarnacion badly wanted to stay with the Blue Jays, deals with Steve Pearce and Kendrys Morales indicate they have moved on from one of the greatest power bats in team history.
However, Kinzer said several other clubs have been engaged in talks for Encarnacion, including National League teams.
“We’ve had multi-year offers from six different teams between three and four years, most of them in the three range,” Kinzer told Blair, adding that he already spoke with two teams Wednesday morning. “We’ll come out of it okay.”
Kinzer, the head of REP1 Baseball, says he and his client were surprised by how talks have transpired. He never envisioned negotiations stretching out this long and was especially taken aback by how things played out with the Blue Jays.
“When they signed Kendrys Morales it made it a lot tougher, but we were still talking,” Kinzer said. “After they signed Pearce, then we felt like the door pretty much closed.”
The additions of Morales, a 33-year-old designated hitter who hit 30 home runs last season, and Pearce, a versatile right-handed bat who can handle duties at first base and in the outfield, clogged the positions Encarnacion was hoping to fill. Early in the off-season, the Blue Jays offered a four-year, $80 million contract, but Encarnacion was not ready to commit.
“The thing was the timing. He had waited his whole career and the day before free agency they gave us an offer and they wanted an answer,” Kinzer said. “Edwin wasn’t ready, he didn’t want to be pressured into a situation. He at least wanted to see what teams were interested in him.”
Kinzer told Blair that the decision to listen to other teams was not all about the money and said that “as long as the Blue Jays were close, he would have come back.” In the end, though, the Blue Jays signed Morales earlier than expected.
“They told us they were going to be speaking to players, that didn’t come as a surprise,” Kinzer said, “but signing someone two days later came as a surprise. We didn’t think they were going to move that quickly.”
Regardless, there don’t appear to be hard feelings, and the sides have remained in contact, even after the Blue Jays’ latest moves.
“Nobody’s mad at anybody, it’s business,” Kinzer said. “They saw an opportunity and they pursued it. We’ve communicated and we’ve talked up to a few days ago.”
The Blue Jays’ urgency was not the only challenge facing Kinzer and Encarnacion this offseason, as the new CBA has also impacted free agency. Not only did negotiating the agreement slow down the pace of the off-season, it likely forced several teams to reconsider bidding for a top free agent.
“We had the worst of both worlds. We had the draft pick and the luxury tax didn’t go up as much as anticipated,” Kinzer said.
He added that teams “everybody thought would come on strong” have been quieter than expected, perhaps in reference to the the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Texas Rangers.
Meanwhile, Encarnacion is preparing for 2017 as he would any other off-season while his agent continues to gage interest from teams. The difficult part appears to be preparing for life after Toronto.
“He wanted to finish strong there, put up numbers, and be proud of his number hanging on the wall,” Kinzer said.