TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays confirmed Monday that they have extended qualifying offers to sluggers Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.
Extending a qualifying offer — worth US$17.2 million — ensures that a team would receive draft pick compensation if a player signs elsewhere as a free agent.
Both Encarnacion and Bautista are coming off the option years of their respective contracts. Encarnacion earned US$10 million last season while Bautista earned $14 million.
Players have one week to decide whether to accept the one-year offer or reject it and try for a better deal on the open market.
Encarnacion, who turns 34 in January, belted 42 homers and drove in 127 runs last season while Bautista, 36, hit 22 homers and had 69 RBIs in an injury-plagued campaign. Neither player is expected to accept the qualifying offer.
Both players have had prominent roles in the Blue Jays' return to prominence over the last few years.
Toronto ended its 22-year playoff drought in 2015 and returned to the American League Championship Series again this year before falling to the Cleveland Indians.
The Blue Jays did not say whether they extended a qualifying offer to Canadian outfielder Michael Saunders. He had a strong first half but struggled later in the season.