Edwin Encarnacion, for the past four seasons, has been the model of consistency. OPS ranging from .901 for 941. Between 34 and 42 home runs. 24 to 31 doubles. Under 100 strikeouts each year. Gets on base at a nice rate, .354 to 384 OBP.
And he seems to be enjoying himself more each year. We are getting to see a little bit more of his personality. His reaction to the fans throwing hats on the field, for his three home run game, was great fun. Sportsnet did a little profile on him and his offseason life in the Dominican.
I'm happy to see that Edwin is becoming a fan favorite, since he really wasn't a favorite in his first couple of seasons with the team. And he's not as outgoing as some of his teammates. Not as, overtly anyway, intense as Jose and Donaldson. Dominicans really can't win, if they are loud they are wrong, if they are quiet they are wrong. Don't be expressive, but don't be quiet.
Edwin has been slower learning English, or at least not as interested in sharing his English skills with us, than many of his teammates. He isn't the first one to reporters go to after a game. He doesn't seem as interested in self promotion as some.
Edwin tells us he wants to stay in Toronto:
"I want to stay on this team, I love this team, I love this city but it (doesn't) depend on me," he said. "It depends what they're thinking. I hope we get it done so I can stay here for the rest of my career."
Then Bautista said the same thing, and, a day or two later, said he needed $30 million a year to stay. When asked about a number Edwin said the number he's thinking about is 40 home runs. Edwin said, again, that the deadline to sign him is the end of spring, but he has said that he would be open to signing with the team after the season.
I think, with both Jose and Edwin looking for a contract, it is more likely that, one or the other (or perhaps both), would be signed after the season. If they signed Edwin tomorrow, and then didn't sign Jose, it would be a long season of Jose thinking 'why him, why not me'. With them being close friends, you wouldn't want to do anything that might drive a wedge between them.
Edwin is coming into his age 33 season. If you were thinking about signing him, you'd be asking yourself how well he'll age. Baseball Reference has a list of most similar batters through age 32. The ten are Jermaine Dye, Danny Tartabull, Roger Maris, Pat Burrell, Tim Salmon, Eric Chavez, Frank Howard, Ryan Klesko, Joe Carter (yeah our Joe Carter) and Darryl Strawberry. If you go through that group, most of them fell off after age 33. But then most players drop off by that age.
I'm hoping Edwin is different, he became the player he is now a little later in life than most, so I'm hoping he ages better than most too.
He's a couple of years younger than Jose. I'd imagine he'll be looking for a little less money than Jose. If it is a choice between the two of them? Well, I go back and forth on it. Jose has been the face of the franchise. Edwin is younger. Jose plays a more important defensive role. Edwin's been a bit more consistent the past few years. Jose hit the big home run in the playoffs, and did the perfect bat flip.
Keep both? It would tie up a long of money, and, within a year or two, they will both be looking to play DH/1B. And you would be betting on both aging well.
I'd likely offer him a 3-year deal at around $70 million and see if that gets the conversation going.