Report: Red Sox had discussions to acquire Edwin Encarnacion

MLB insider Ben Nicholson-Smith weighs in on the war of words between the MLB and the Players Association on why so many big ticket free agents remain unsigned, less than a week before camps open.

The Boston Red Sox considered pursuing a familiar foe during their off-season search for a powerful right-handed bat.

The Red Sox had discussions with the Cleveland Indians about acquiring former Toronto Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported Wednesday.

From Nightengale:

The Red Sox had trade discussions during the winter with the Cleveland Indians for Edwin Encarnacion, according to club officials with direct knowledge of the talks, but didn’t want to part with outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.
USA Today

Encarnacion played his first season with the Indians after signing a three-year, $60-million contract for 2017-19. The three-time all-star batted .258/.377/.504 with 38 home runs and 107 RBI in 669 plate appearances with Cleveland last season.

It makes sense that Boston would be interested in Encarnacion as the 35-year-old remains one of the game’s premier power bats and has put up prolific numbers against the Red Sox over his 13-year big league career, batting .273/.366/.527 with 30 home runs and 93 RBI in 492 plate appearances.

The Red Sox, according to Nightengale, are in the market for a right-handed slugger and Encarnacion would’ve fit the bill pretty well, despite the back-loaded deal he signed with the Indians.

For now, however, it looks like Boston will continue to play the waiting game with J.D. Martinez. The Red Sox have reportedly offered Martinez a contract after a productive 2017 season in which he hit 45 homers and posted a 1.066 OPS.

Martinez had initially been seeking a $200-million payday, but the current market has been tough on players and Boston’s offer was for about $125 million, according to Nightengale. In the meantime, the Red Sox pursued one of the most beloved Blue Jays in recent memory.

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