Things looked quite complicated for Edwin Encarnacion during the free agency period.
The Dominican slugger rejected a four-year, $80 million offer from the Toronto Blue Jays a few weeks ago. And even though he was the top hitter on the market, it seemed teams didn’t want him. Or at least it looked that way, as weeks went by and Encarnacion remained unsigned.
However, the slugger struck a deal with the Cleveland Indians this week for three years and $65 million. He’ll anchor the middle of the order for the reigning American League champions. And if Cleveland was dangerous last year, he’ll be even better in 2017. We have to considering Cleveland didn’t have Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar and Michael Brantley for the 2016 World Series. They’ll be one of the main favorites to repeat their AL pennant next year.
This is also a great move for Encarnacion. The Oakland Athletics and the Texas Rangers were into him “until the last minute”, but ultimately both came up short. According to Encarnacion’s agent, Paul Kinzer, the A’s offered a two-year, $50M deal but he rejected it. And Texas didn’t want to offer more than $18M per year.
Everybody thought Encarnacion was going to return to Toronto, but he asked for a $100M deal and the Blue Jays didn’t bite. So now the veteran slugger will join a team that’s already deep, and that will look to contend during the coming years. He could’ve earned a bit more money with another franchise, but Cleveland offers him the chance to compete for a World Series title right away. That’s something players can’t pass up.
The perfect fit would’ve been the Boston Red Sox, but they didn’t want him. The Colorado Rockies and the New York Yankees backed off after the initial talks. And in the end it was either Cleveland or Toronto, and the Indians made far more sense.
Both sides have won after this move. The Indians separated themselves from the rest in the AL Central after signing a hitter who’s coming off a 42 HR, 127 RBI year. And Encarnacion signed with a team that will give him the chance to compete for titles in the upcoming years.
It looked strange and surprising at first, but after details emerged it was pretty clear. Encarnacion made the right call joining the Indians. And it wouldn’t be strange to see him dangling homers in the postseason as soon as next year.