Friday, December 23, 2016

Indians sign Edwin Encarnacion!

The Cleveland Indians delivered the power bat that their fans had been screaming for and the one that might have swung things their way in the World Series as the Indians and Edwin Encarnacion agreed to a three year deal worth sixty million dollars.
The contract also includes a club option for a fourth season at the same twenty million per.

Encarnacion led the AL in RBI last season with 127 and has knocked in over 100 runs in four of the last five seasons with the season that he didn't being a narrow miss at 98.
Combine that with 42 homers last season with the low being 34 during the same five year run and you have what the Indians missed all last season-a power bat that plugs in place at first base and designated hitter and can be counted on every day.
Cleveland got far more than I expected from Mike Napoli,but his bad late season (and postseason) fade was more along the lines of what I expected and I was very dubious that the Indians would get that much production with a re-signing of  Napoli,so an addition was needed if the team was truly serious about filling the one major problem in the lineup.

Encarnacion turns 34 before the season,so that's a mild concern,but I've seen no signs (as in zero) of a upcoming drop in production and I don't see that the Indians could be stuck with a twenty million dollar contract with a player falling off drastically such as when the Indians signed Nick Swisher and found themselves on the hook for a declining player.
Encarnacion will split time between first base and designated hitter,so that will help with the wear and tear to hopefully give Cleveland the maximum use of his talents.

This signing makes the Indians the pre-season favorites in the American League along with the Red Sox as the healthy starting pitching along with a hopefully healthy Michael Brantley and Encarnacion boosts a team that went to extra innings in game seven of the World Series (which as far as you can push things without winning) and gives them an excellent chance of a return trip.

The Indians and the Dolan family are often criticized by followers (and me) for not spending when spending would fill a need,so when they do the right thing and spend to give the team the best chance to win-I have to make sure that the credit is due.
Unlike the spending on Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn,which was questioned at the time as being spent on declining players and done in order to send a message to the fans,this is a signing that improves the team and shows a commitment to winning that the Indians have not always shown in the past.
This is a great addition and might be what finally brings the Indians that elusive championship....

Back later with a few thoughts on the Pirates re-signing Ivan Nova...

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