Boston Red Sox rumors about Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion have surfaced again after both players were extended qualifying offers by the Toronto Blue Jays. A report by ESPN states that 10 players received qualifying offers on Monday (Nov. 7) from their respective teams. These qualifying offers boil down to one-year deals that are put in place to reward the franchise should a top free agent decide to sign with another team. The one-year contract is worth $17.2 million this season, up from $15.8 million for the 2016 MLB season.
The Blue Jays have shown continued interest in offering a long-term deal to designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion, but have appeared ambivalent when it comes to re-signing Jose Bautista. Both players have been mentioned in Boston Red Sox rumors as possible replacements for David Oritz. Ortiz retired at the end of the 2016 MLB season, leaving a huge opening in the middle of the batting order. It is one that many experts feel could be easily filled by the Red Sox signing either Bautista or Encarnacion when free agency opens.
The other eight players who have received qualifying offers are Mark Trumbo, Yoenis Cespedes, Neil Walker, Ian Desmond, Dexter Fowler, Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen, and Jeremy Hellickson. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Cespedes made it well-known that he wanted more money from the New York Mets. He decided to opt out of the final two years of his contract with the Mets, making Cespedes a free agent who can now sign with another franchise. Cespedes is another player who has been mentioned in Red Sox rumors, but so has Mark Trumbo.
The importance of the qualifying offer, and where it comes into play for the Red Sox, is that the team would lose a first-round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft if they sign either Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion. This is the purpose of the qualifying offers, as the Toronto Blue Jays would receive compensation for losing a star player to free agency. In addition to high drafts picks for both players, the Blue Jays will also receive an extra pick after the first round in next June’s amateur draft. This raises the potential cost for any team considering a major signing in the MLB offseason.
Bautista is coming off a down season with the Blue Jays, potentially making the veteran outfielder a less expensive option. The 36-year-old All-Star hit 0.234 with a 0.817 OPS in 116 games. Bautista had 22 home runs, 69 RBIs and 68 runs scored, but did battle through a series of injuries. During the 2015 MLB season, Bautista hit 0.250 with a 0.913 OPS. He had 40 home runs, 114 RBIs, and 110 walks to his credit.
Encarnacion will turn 34 in January and is coming off another successful season with the Blue Jays. He had a 0.263 batting average and a 0.886 OPS in 160 games. Encarnacion finished the season with 42 home runs, a league-leading 127 RBIs, 99 runs scored, and 87 walks. While he saw more action at designated hitter during the 2016 MLB season, Encarnacion still started 74 games at first base, showing that he can still play the field when called upon. That would give the Red Sox more flexibility than with what David Ortiz provided the team on defense.
The MLB offseason is just getting started, so there is a lot that could happen in the next few months. All the players who were extended a qualifying offer have until November 14 to respond, but it is expected that all 10 players will decline those offers. It will mean that a lot of long-term contracts are going to be offered shortly after that point. There are going to be a lot of Boston Red Sox rumors linking the team to the big offensive players in free agency, but the Toronto Blue Jays may try to overpay Edwin Encarnacion to keep him in Canada.
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