The Mariners are reportedly increasingly confident that they'll be able to trade Encarnacion before spring training, MLB.com's Jon Morosi said during an appearance on MLB Network's "Hot Stove" on Friday.
The Tampa Bay Rays, Houston Astros, and Chicago White Sox - all of whom were chasing Nelson Cruz before he signed with the Minnesota Twins on Thursday - are among the teams involved in the Encarnacion sweepstakes, Morosi reported.
Tampa Bay had apparent interest in Encarnacion before the Cleveland Indians traded him to Seattle in a three-team deal. The Rays were the third team in that trade, and landed Yandy Diaz from Cleveland while the Mariners sent Santana - who they had only acquired two weeks earlier - to the Indians.
Seattle has been fielding offers on Encarnacion since acquiring him. With the Mariners shedding salary and entering a rebuild this offseason, trading the 35-year-old Encarnacion and his $20-million salary appears to be the team's preference.
The Mariners also acquired another right-handed power bat in Domingo Santana, who's under team control for several more years and could easily slot in as a designated hitter/first baseman should Encarnacion be dealt.
Encarnacion posted an .810 OPS for the Indians last season - his lowest mark since 2011 - but he still slugged 32 homers and drove in 107 runs across 579 plate appearances with the AL Central champions.