Edwin Encarnacion is off the disabled list and back in the Blue Jays’ lineup after missing the past six weeks with a quadriceps injury.
Encarnacion was having a monster season before the injury, hitting .277 with 26 homers and a league-high .979 OPS in 88 games. In his absence Toronto went 16-17, going from 1.0 game back in the AL East to 7.5 games back.
Shi Davidi of Toronto Sportsnet reports that speedy outfielder Anthony Gose will be sent back to the minors to make room on the roster for Encarnacion’s return.
First baseman José Abreu and starter Jake Odorizzi have accepted their $17.8 million qualifying offers from the White Sox and Twins, respectively, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports. Reliever Will Smith signed a three-year contract with the Braves ahead of Thursday’s 5 PM ET deadline to accept or reject the qualifying offer.
The remaining seven players — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, Stephen Strasburg, Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner, Josh Donaldson, and Marcell Ozuna — have rejected their qualifying offers, per Passan. They are officially free agents and will have draft pick compensation attached to them, a potential deterrent for some interested teams.
The QO is unlikely to materially affect the fates of Cole, Rendon, and Strasburg, but it could limit the markets for the other four players. Reliever Craig Kimbrel and starter Dallas Keuchel both had draft pick compensation attached to them after the 2018 season and didn’t end up signing until June. It seems unlikely that Wheeler, Bumgarner, Donaldson, and Ozuna would have to wait until June next year to sign but it may take a while for their markets to develop.