Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion, who’s yet to play in a game this spring due to a dental issue, has now been shut down for at least a week with a strained oblique muscle.
Toronto manager John Gibbons told Greg Zeck of MLB.com that “it’s minor, but those things can turn into bad things if you don’t watch it.” There’s now some doubt about Encarnacion being healthy for Opening Day, although Gibbons insists “he’s one guy that probably doesn’t need as many at-bats” to be ready.
Encarnacion is a huge and perhaps somewhat underrated part of the Blue Jays’ scary lineup, hitting .277 with 39 homers and a .929 OPS in 146 games last season and averaging 38 homers with a .919 OPS from 2012-2015.
UPDATE: Kansas City has added Gee to the 40-man roster, so his ultimatum got the job done. He won’t be opting out.
Dillon Gee‘s minor-league contract with the Royals includes an opt-out clause and Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reports that the veteran right-hander has told the team he will use it if he’s not added to the 40-man roster within the next 48 hours.
Kansas City could add Gee to the 40-man roster without exposing anyone to waivers by shifting left-hander Mike Minor to the 60-day disabled list. They’d only do so if they felt Gee was worth keeping around, obviously, but early indications are that the Royals have been impressed by how he looks coming off an injury wrecked season with the Mets.
Gee’s deal is non-guaranteed, but if he cracks the Opening Day roster it would be worth $2 million in upfront money and as much as $5 million once incentives are factored in. He spent the first six seasons of his career as a starter for the Mets, posting a 4.03 ERA and 489/216 K/BB ratio in 679 innings through age 29.
Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Mets have placed infielder Ruben Tejada on the waiver wire, which is a move that likely signals the end of his time with the team after a decade in the organization.
Tejada was slated for a much less substantial role than he served in 2014 and 2015, but new starting shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera going down with a strained knee last week seemingly made Tejada a lock to be on the Opening Day roster.
Instead the Mets are willing to lose him for nothing, with Rubin reporting that they’d like to get out from under the $3 million he’s owed this season. When the Mets tendered Tejada a contract for 2016 they hadn’t yet traded for Neil Walker or signed Cabrera, so the infield situation has changed a lot.
If he passes through waivers unclaimed the Mets can release Tejada and be on the hook for just $500,000 of his $3 million salary due to the unique rule surrounding arbitration settlements. At that point he’d be free to sign elsewhere for whatever he can get as he comes back from the broken fibula suffered on Chase Utley‘s postseason takeout slide.
Tejada is a 26-year-old career .255 hitter with a .653 OPS in 580 games for the Mets, who apparently feel comfortable with Wilmer Flores as their Opening Day shortstop and eventual backup.