Following the retirement of David Ortiz, the Red Sox this offseason are of course faced with a substantial void at DH. On that front, the best DH type on the free-agent market is without question Edwin Encarnacion, who last season hit 42 home runs for the Blue Jays. To be sure, no one's going to replace the power and on-base skills of Big Papi -- to say nothing of his leadership -- but Encarnacion seems the best bet to come the closest.
So it looks like a natural fit. Yes, Encarnacion's going into his age-34 season and will likely command a contract that extends well into his decline phase. That said, he remains a top-tier power threat in the near-term (Fenway-friendly right-handed power, at that), and the Sox would be plucking him directly from their chief AL East rival. Surely such a pairing is in the works!
Well, not necessarily, reports WEEI's Rob Bradford. Sources tell Bradford that the team hasn't yet had any serious talks with Encarnacion or his representatives. Bradford's story also includes details on why the going rates for Encarnacion may not fit in with Dave Dombrowski's plans for the DH spot.
Obviously, the Sox aren't desperate. They figure to have a tremendous offense in 2017 even if the DH spot goes unaddressed. As well, the impressive organizational depth when it comes to hitters means that they could probably cobble together an internal solution if the market isn't to their liking. And even though, say, Kendrys Morales is off the market, bats like Carlos Beltran, Jose Bautista, Mark Trumbo, and others are also still out there. It's not as though Encarnacion is the only option.
The other thing to keep in mind is that it's still November -- i.e., very early in the offseason. That the Sox haven't yet buttonholed Encarnacion's people doesn't mean he's not in their plans. Speaking of those plans, they're fluid, as is the case with all teams. There's plenty of time for things to change.
Maybe Encarnacion-to-Boston isn't as likely as prior speculation would lead you to believe, but things can change in a hurry once the dollars start flying in earnest.