Encarnacion, Bautista rumours flying as MLB free agency gets underway

The MLB free agency period is only two days old, but rumours are already flying and Blue Jays Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista are front and centre. 

Encarnacion, who is expecting offers around $ 125 million (all figures US) over five years, is not being seriously pursued by the Boston Red Sox — yet, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. 

Boston has been linked to Encarnacion ever since now-retired David Ortiz pinned him as the perfect successor to his DH role. But Rosenthal notes the Red Sox are currently focused more on short-term solutions such as Carlos Beltran and Kendrys Morales.

Shi Davidi of Sportsnet did note earlier in the week that Toronto has intensified their interest in bringing back the slugger, “giving him something to think about” right before the free-agent period opened Tuesday morning. 

Jon Morosi of MLB Network also connected the Houston Astros to Encarnacion. 

The Blue Jays haven’t been as up front about their interest in Bautista, who may be finding a less robust market than Encarnacion.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported that “nothing is completely off the table” with Bautista, including accepting his $ 17.2 million one-year qualifying offer from the Blue Jays.

His agent, Jay Alou, stated that Bautista is willing to play anywhere on the field, including the infield.

“Jose will play anywhere, or hit anywhere, if it helps the team win,” Alou said.

Bautista, primarily a right fielder, has played 372 games at third base and 50 in left field throughout his career. 

He has also been linked to the Boston Red Sox, and as a possible fallback option for the New York Mets if they fail to re-sign Yoenis Cespedes.

Chapman looking for record contract

Fire-balling closer Aroldis Chapman will almost certainly break the record contract for a relief pitcher set by Jonathan Papelbon’s four-year, $ 50 million deal with Philadelphia in 2012. 

Chapman is reportedly seeking a contract worth $ 100 million, according to Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago.

Chapman, who isn’t tied to draft pick compensation because he was traded midseason, has been linked to the deep-pocketed Los Angeles Dodgers and a possible reunion with the New York Yankees.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today also reported the San Francisco Giants, whose bullpen imploded in the latter half of the season, are meeting with Chapman’s agent. 

Votto not likely to be traded

Nightengale is also reporting that the Cincinnati Reds will not be trading Canadian all-star first baseman Joey Votto. 

Votto’s name has been tossed around the last few years as a potential trade target with him being on a non-playoff contender and a contract that will pay him $ 179 million through the 2023 season.

He has been linked to the Blue Jays in the past. 

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