Indians snare free-agent slugger Edwin Encarnacion

Dec 24, 2016, 00:27
Indians snare free-agent slugger Edwin Encarnacion

The Cleveland Indians will hope he'll continue that pace for at least another three years. According to several reports, the deal also includes a fourth-year club option of $20 million or a $5 million buyout.

Cleveland, coming off a loss in Game 7 of the World Series, saw an opportunity to add a powerful right-handed bat to its lineup and went all-in.

The Indians best power hitter throughout the year was first baseman Mike Napoli, but he only managed to bat a paltry.173 in the postseason.

A poor defensive first baseman who made nearly exactly half of his starts at designated hitter over the last five seasons, Encarnacion's production has been undermined by his limited defensive abilities. The Indians swooped in and worked out a deal to bring in a player who could help put them back in position to end their championship drought. He held a.263/.357/.529 with the Toronto Blue Jays and had an impressive.886 OPS. The fewest games he has played in the last six years was 128 games in 2014 with the Blue Jays.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman made it clear throughout the offseason he didn't want to sacrifice a draft pick for a free agent, though his club had discussions with Encarnacion.

I'm basically out of words for Edwin Encarnacion to the Indians at this point.

After the World Series, Cleveland declined to offer Napoli a one-year, $17.2 million qualifying offer but maintained an interest in re-signing the slugger on a one-year pact.

Cleveland ranked 10th out of 15 AL teams in total home runs, and that mark stands to improve quite a bit if Encarnacion can replicate the success he experienced in Toronto. He's the only player in the big leagues with 30 or more home runs in each of the last five seasons. He also notched 127 RBIs, good for the league lead. Ramirez and Lindor are under team control for four and five more years, respectively. Given that he only received a three year contract, it would have been nice to see him return to Toronto's lineup for the foreseeable future. While the Boston Red Sox made headlines this offseason with the addition of Chris Sale to a rotation that already featured David Price and Rick Porcello, the Indians already feature a triumverate that, when healthy, could be just as potent in Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar.

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