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Encarnacion's Agent Comments on Contract Talks
Wednesday, July 13
Jon Heyman of Today's Knuckleball reported Wednesday what Encarnacion's agent, Paul Kinzer, had to say on his client's status:
Once the season started, we were not going to negotiate. He thought it was a distraction last time. He's the most relaxed I've ever seen him. Why mess with the guy? He's content. He's happy. [...] This doesn't mean Toronto's out. This was the plan all along. We were going to play this thing out.
Encarnacion has a slash line of .267/.358 /.541 to go with an MLB-leading 80 RBI and 23 homers. He earned his third All-Star bid this year and will be a free agent once the season ends.
This news has to come as relief to Toronto fans and especially the Blue Jays front office, which won't have to worry about strong-arming Encarnacion in potentially pernicious negotiations after the All-Star break.
The Jays are neck-and-neck with the Boston Red Sox in the American League wild-card race, only two games up on the Houston Astros at the moment. They're also just two games behind the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East.
As long as Encarnacion keeps up his level of play, he's going to get a big payday this winter.
With a load of high-level talent around him and even a realistic chance of winning the AL pennant, Encarnacion is in a great situation and won't be putting himself above the team.
Encarnacion seems to recognize how trying to get a deal done now would complicate matters amid high stakes and expectations as Toronto tries to secure a postseason berth. He needs to be fully locked in with slugger Jose Bautista on the disabled list.
If Josh Donaldson can maintain his own exceptional form (.304 average, 23 HR, 63 RBI) and Troy Tulowitzki keeps up his hot start to July (.357 average), the Blue Jays should be a tough to beat as the regular season winds down.