Tha Sports Junkies 101

Who should the Blue Jays Keep


Encarnacion or Bautista, who do the Jays pick going forward

The Jays are coming into one of the biggest off seasons in franchise history with fan favorites Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion set to hit free agency, neither wants to take another hometown discount, Edwin has had the more productive season this year and has managed to stay healthy. Many fans would like to see the team sign both players but that is unrealistic for the franchise. They have Donaldson to lock up long term as well as Stroman and Sanchez in the next 3-4 years. So the management team will have to pick one to sign and one to offer the Qualifying offer too.

On one side of the coin there’s Jose Bautista, who most fans have come to adore. It would be hard to let the face of the franchise for the last 4-6 years walk away. His most famous moment as a Blue Jay is the “Bat Flip”  in Game 5 of the ALDS against Texas last season. That moment was a defining moment for not just the player but the franchise. As much as Jose has helped define one of the most feared offenses in baseball, he has fallen prone to the injury bug the last few season.

This season Baustista has landed on the disabled list twice. Once with a case of Turf Toe suffered when he banged his toe against the wall in Philadelphia causing him to miss 30 games. He also had a disabled list stint for a twisted knee missing 12 games in the process. He has struggled to a .228 batting average with 18HR and 59RBI.

His defense has also been sub-par and with the acquisition of Upton JR., he has found himself hitting from the DH spot more frequently to avoid having his suspect defense on the field. Most casual fans don’t see much wrong with his defense as they love to watch his arm and him gunning runners down. Even this part of his game is starting to decline as he suffered shoulder issues, most notably last year when he tried to throw behind an Oriole’s runner and ended up missing time due to aggravated shoulder issues. Jose was said to be asking for a Cespedes type deal at 3+ years and $25 Million a year.

On the other side of that coin is Jose’s slugging mate Edwin Encarnacion. Edwin has been one of the Jays few anchor’s this year. Formerly known as E3 for his poor defense at first base, he’s put that nickname to rest. His defense has improved drastically enough for Gibbons to feel comfortable starting at first base instead of just DH. Edwin also has managed to stay healthier on the field and produce at a higher level. Encarnacion has managed a .266 average with 41 Home runs and 120RBI. He has hit .245 with Runners In Scoring Position this year with a .540SLG%. While hitting with RISP is often considered an obsolete and over rated stat it’s hard to argue that it’s completely useless. Encarnacion has hit 21 of his 41 home runs have come with no one base. Edwin has seen his strike outs climb over the past few years, which may cause alarm but his average and OBP% have remained steady.

With the Jays having one of their most important off seasons ahead of them, they are faced with the decision of which one of their franchise corner stones to keep. The decision should be easy for the front office, it should be Edwin Encarnacion. Edwin is the safer bet to sign to a 3 year deal ideally around the 50 Million range and offer Bautista the Qualifying Offer as they have depth available in the outfield to hopefully offset the loss of Bautista. While they will not be able to replicate the 30 Home run 90RBI potential that Bautista can offer if he is healthy, they do have Melvin Upton JR., Who can offer potential as a better defensive replacement and 20HR/80RBI if he hits in the 6th hole.