The reigning American League champs just got even stronger, as the Cleveland Indians have signed Edwin Encarnacion to a three year contract. The veteran slugger is guaranteed $65 million over that span, with the chance to earn an additional $15 million through a fourth year option.
Encarnacion hit 42 home runs for the Blue Jays last season, plus 3 in the playoffs. His power, combined with a strong on-base percentage, made him one of the most feared hitters in all of baseball. Toronto opted to sign Kendrys Morales to a 3 year, $33 million contract early in the offseason, and it appears as though the Blue Jays simply moved on. Encarnacion ends up costing roughly twice the amount as Morales, but the club option also provides Cleveland with potential upside.
The bargaining war between Encarnacion and the Blue Jays ends up looking like a lose-lose scenario. The Blue Jays reportedly offered him a 4 year, $80 million contract in the early going, but Encarnacion chose to look elsewhere. MLBTR predicted a 4 year, $92 million contract back in early November, but his market never materialized as expected.
Let's wish Encarnacion all the best in Cleveland. Over the past five seasons, he ranks as the 7th best hitter in the game in terms of weighted runs created (wRC+) behind Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto, David Ortiz, Andrew McCutchen, and Paul Goldschmidt. 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. Blue Jays fans will surely miss the parrot home run trot, plus his playoff heroics:
Indians get EE— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 23, 2016