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Encarnacion, Happ and Smoak: Updates from the Winter Meetings

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Things are heating up for the Blue Jays.

Cleveland Indians v Chicago White Sox Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Although the first few days of the Winter Meetings were pretty dull, save for the release of Troy Tulowitzki, it looks like things are picking up on the Blue Jays’ front — or, at least, in matters somewhat related to the Blue Jays.

The Seattle Mariners acquired former Blue Jay Edwin Encarnacion from the Cleveland baseball team in a three-way deal involving the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday afternoon.

The Rays sent Jake Bauers to Cleveland, with Yandy Diaz heading the other way. The Mariners, who also received cash considerations, sent Carlos Santana to Cleveland.

Encarnacion, who played with the Blue Jays for seven seasons, is set to be paid $21.7 million in 2019 with a $20 million team option in 2020. In 2018, he posted a slash line of .246/.336/.474 with 32 home runs and 63 walks. Although age may be a concern for some teams — he’ll turn 36 before the start of the season — he’s played 120 or more games in every season since 2011. In 2018, he played in 137 games.

After a sputtering push to the finish line for the New York Yankees yesterday, it looks like they’re just putting the finishing touches on a deal with J.A. Happ.

Mark Feinsand of reports that the Yankees and Happ have agreed on a loose structure of the deal, settling on a two-year contract with a performance-based option for 2021. Joel Sherman says that, as things stand now, Happ’s set to make $17 million over two seasons, with the contract maxing out at $51 million, should the option be picked up.

It looked like the Yankees finished the deal yesterday, but it turns out they still had some work left to do.

After the Blue Jays paid Happ $36 million over three years, it’s a superb contract for him to get $51 million over the same time span. He’ll be going on 39 when it expires, and even though his current performance justifies the deal, the next two years may not.

There haven’t been many teams linked specifically to the Blue Jays this offseason compared to some other years, but Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post just connected the Colorado Rockies to Toronto, saying that the Rockies have “discussed” trading for Justin Smoak.

This doesn’t seem all too serious; right now, discussions seem to be pretty one-sided, and there’s been no reported interactions between the teams. However, it would make sense for Toronto to flip Smoak for pitching (which the offseason has shown us to be the Holy Grail of acquisitions) and have Brandon Drury and Rowdy Tellez split time at first. It’s not ideal, but it works and would likely be an improvement.