Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports that there is “mutual interest” between the Blue Jays and Edwin Encarnación.
A reunion would make some sense in that the Blue Jays currently have no first baseman — their last one, Justin Smoak, just signed a deal with Milwaukee — and given that Encarnación has such a great history in Toronto.
He’ll be 37 next month, but he hit .249/.325/.531 with 34 homers and 86 RBI for Seattle and New York last year. In his eight years with the Blue Jays he hit .268/.355/.522 with 239 homers while making three All-Star teams and getting some downballot MVP support at time. That kind of resume, and what seems to be left in the tank, seems like a perfect fit for a team looking to draw some fans, continue its rebuild, and get some decent short-term production in the process.
If they can’t make it work with Encarnación, Eric Thames — who could be a reasonably facsimile of Smoak, one imagines — is available. As is Travis Shaw, who has spent a fair amount of time at first.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.
The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.