Edwin Encarnacion really, really doesn’t want to be a Cleveland Indian. Pretty soon, he might not have a choice in the matter.
Jon Heyman of Fanrag Sports reports that the Indians are still hard after the free agent first baseman. This is the second time now since the Winter Meetings weeks ago that the Indians are rumored to be making a strong push towards signing Encarnacion.
Star free agent slugger Edwin Encarnacion has three- and four-year offers from at least five teams, his agent, Paul Kinzer, said in an interview with FanRag Sports Wednesday.
Kinzer declined to name any teams involved in the current bidding, but sources suggest the Indians are “pulling out all the stops” to try to make it work – though most believe Encarnacion ultimately is a luxury the Indians will have difficulty affording.
The Indians have made offers to other top free agent first basemen, including their own star Mike Napoli, and others, but apparently they are having trouble meeting the prices of their top targets.
Kinzer wouldn’t discuss specific teams, but said that “two teams have been aggressive.”
So it’s obvious, the Indians are one of those teams. And since the market has been so cool for Encarnacion, you have to wonder why he hasn’t gotten close to signing with Cleveland (other than the fact that it’s Cleveland and it’s not a real desired destination for any player on the open market).
Best guess is here: you never hear a serious report out of the media that the Encarnacion camp is getting serious about signing a contract with the Cleveland Indians. On the small chance that it happens, Encarnacion is likely just using the Indians as a bargaining chip to drive up his price tag a just a little bit further with a team that he really wants to sign with.
The real question here is who is the other aggressive mystery team? Colorado is out with the addition of Ian Desmond. Toronto is rumored to be out. A bidding war between the Indians and the Oakland A’s is a player’s true nightmare fuel.
Our guess is that the St. Louis Cardinals may be involved here. He’s been whispered to be in their interests. While he’s a questionable fit as an everyday first-baseman at age 34, it’s hard to deny that he would be the big thumper in the middle of the St. Louis lineup that they’ve been lacking.
But he’s probably not going to sign with the Indians. We would bet against it.