Now that it appears the Carlos Lee to the Los Angeles Dodgers deal is dead, thanks to Lee declining the trade, the Dodgers could find themselves linked to other bats in several different MLB rumors. One of those that could become available soon is the Toronto Blue Jays’ Edwin Encarnacion. The Blue Jays might decide to part ways with their designated hitter/first baseman if they come to the conclusion they are out of the American League East race and the Wild Card as well.
The Los Angeles Dodgers need help offensively and they need to acquire it soon. They have been in a terrible slump and have gone from the best record in MLB to falling behind the San Francisco Giants in the NL West. The Dodgers offense has struggled without Matt Kemp and Andre Eithier and adding Encarnacion would be a major upgrade at first base over James Loney. The real value in Encarnacion is his ability to play multiple positions and he has experience at third and in the outfield as well as at first.
If the Blue Jays do put Encarnacion on the block the Dodgers will have competition. The Texas Rangers could be interested to fill their first base hole while Mitch Moreland recovers from injury. The Pittsburgh Pirates would also consider adding Encarnacion if they believe they can make a run at a Wild Card spot or even the NL Central title.
Encarnacion is in the middle of what looks like a career year. He already is just four home runs short of his career high of 26 and is currently hitting .291, well above his career average of .263. If the Blue Jays were wise they would sell high on Encarnacion, who at age 29, is going to be facing the downside of his career in a couple of seasons and the return would likely never be as high as it is now. The new Dodgers ownership wants to show the fanbase that they are serious about contending after several seasons of being mediocre at best. Adding a strong bat like Encarnacion makes sense for the Dodgers. Encarnacion’s contract expires at the end of the season and the Dodgers wouldn’t require the Blue Jays to pay any of Encarnacion’s remaining salary.
There is one reason why the Blue Jays might not trade Encarnacion and that reason is Jose Bautista. Some inside the Blue Jays organization believe Encarnacion could flourish in Toronto much like MVP-candidate Jose Bautista. While I don’t agree with those folks it is hard not to hope. Nobody in Major League Baseball thought Bautista would be the player he is today. There are several scouts who thought Encarnacion would eventually be an All-Star. It will be interesting to see what happens. This could quickly become one of the hotter MLB rumors as the trade deadline approaches.