Texas Rangers rumors: Edwin Encarnacion is the top free agent still on the market, and Jeff Passan tweets that teams interested get the sense he’s close to making a decision. Jon Heyman says the Indians and A’s are in, and the Rangers and Rockies might be. Susan Slusser, however, says the A’s have only discussed a two year offer with Encarnacion, not a three year offer.
The Rangers have, for much of the offseason, been seen as the most likely destination for the free agent 1B/DH, as Texas needs a middle of the order bat and has a hole at 1B and, if Shin-Soo Choo stays in the outfield, at DH. They’ve also been leery about paying Encarnacion what he is seeking, though the market seems to have dropped to the point where Texas could see it being worth forfeiting their first round pick to snag Encarnacion.
Meanwhile, one gets the sense that the free agent logjam currently existing will get un-jammed once Encarnacion is off the board. Teams interested in Encarnacion who miss out on him will likely move quickly on Mike Napoli and Chris Carter, and that will then make the options clearer for the remaining 1B/DH/OF types. I’ve felt Texas was avoiding making any big commitments until they saw how things shook out with Encarnacion, since getting him at a bargain figure would seem to be their ideal Plan A.
The buzz seems to be that Encarnacion is looking for something like Yoenis Cespedes signed last year, a front-loaded three year deal with an opt-out after year one.
UPDATE — Jeff Passan says this:
For what it's worth, two teams no longer in Edwin Encarnacion sweepstakes believe the Cleveland Indians are the team to beat. Makes sense.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 23, 2016
UPDATE II — And Encarnacion is a Cleveland Indian. He reportedly has agreed to a three year, $65 million deal that will be four years, $80 million if the fourth year team option is exercised.
The Rangers will presumably now look at Mike Napoli and Chris Carter and see if they are interested in a one year deal.