Toronto essentially closed the door on Encarnacion when the team signed Steve Pearce to a two-year deal Monday. The 33-year-old's options appear to be dwindling as Houston is another team that dropped out of the expensive race. Encarnacion is still in talks with the Yankees, Red Sox and Indians, and his agent, Paul Kinzer, expects the power hitter to sign a deal during the winter meetings.
In a press release, the Angels said the estimated time to return to play following this procedure is typically four months. That puts Pujols' status for the start of the year in some question, but Pujols is a 10-time All-Star and doesn't need a full spring training to prepare for the regular season. In his age-36 season, Pujols hit .268/.323/.457 with 31 homers, marking his 14th season with 30-plus home runs.
Garcia's 2016 campaign was a replica of his 2015 output in many ways, as his 12 home runs, .245 average, and .692 OPS were all in the same ballpark as his production in those departments the year before. He'll probably be the DH on most days, but he started 51 games in the outfield last season, so he could see some time in one of the corner spots when either Melky Cabrera or Adam Eaton need a day off.
As expected, the former top prospect will remain an Astro farmhand after no teams were interested in picking up his bat that hasn't produced a major league batting average above .200. Singleton's power is intriguing, but he'll be nothing more than an organizational depth piece until he can make more contact.
Atkins admitted the acquisition of Morales does decrease the likelihood of Encarnacion returning to Toronto, but also said it doesn't eliminate the possibility. The slugger has benefited from the hitter-friendly Rogers Centre over the past three years, slashing .279/.369/.575 at home, compared to .260/.353/.513 on the road. Although the talk is exciting for Jays' fans, the team hasn't shown many true signs of pursuing a long-term agreement with Encarnacion.
Kaplan predicts that Singleton will clear waivers and be sent to Triple-A Fresno, an understandable thought given that Singleton is still owed $4.5 million. In 420 career plate appearances, the former top prospect has hit an anemic .171/.290/.331 with151 strikeouts, which simply does not belong in a major league lineup. Blocked at first base and designated hitter by a combination of Yulieski Gurriel, Brian McCann, AJ Reed, and Tyler White, it's unlikely Singleton sees significant time in the majors any time in the near future.
The paperwork has been filed and Ortiz is now officially off the roster. Ortiz and the Red Sox may have fallen short of reaching their ultimate goal of winning the World Series in 2016, but Ortiz finished his career in spectacular fashion with an MLB-best 1.021 OPS, 38 homers and 127 RBI. He hit .286/.380/.552 with 541 home runs in his 20 major league seasons.
Encarnacion turned down Toronto's qualifying offer, and the team's signing of Morales signals the former will likely be playing elsewhere in 2017. The Jays began retooling their lineup by reaching agreement on a $33-million, three-year contract with Morales pending a physical, a move that that essentially parts ways with Encarnacion and sets up Justin Smoak to see plenty of action at first base.
He is expected to turn down the $17.2 million qualifying offer, but a draft pick will now be attached to him as a free agent, which will reduce his value on the open market.
Gattis blasted a career-high 32 home runs in 2016, leading the Astros to bring him back for another season in Houston. It's unclear whether they plan for him to primarily catch or DH during the 2017 season, but regardless of his role, he has a good chance of continuing his high-power ways while he stays in Texas.