Edwin Encarnacion Signs With the Cleveland Indians

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during game four of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on October 18, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.

The MLB off-season is in full swing and top free agents are beginning to decide where they will play next season. Yoenis Cespedes recently re-signed with the New York Mets for four years. The hot stove is also going strong with the Seattle Mariners, Atlanta Braves, and Arizona Diamondbacks involved in trades. Now, another top-tier free agent is also off the market.

Edwin Encarnacion Signs With the Cleveland Indians

Edwin Encarnacion has signed a three year deal worth $20 million with the Cleveland Indians. The first baseman and designated hitter was definitely one of the premier power hitters available this off-season. Encarnacion will provide an immediate impact for the Indians. He has logged at least 34 home runs and 98 RBI each of the past five seasons. Encarnacion finished the 2016 season tied for first in RBI with David Ortiz at 127. His 42 home runs were also tied for third in all of baseball behind Mark Trumbo and Nelson Cruz.

Reliable Power

Cespedes may be the bigger signing this off-season, but Encarnacion may prove to be the most reliable. He will be entering his age-34 season, but the recent success of Ortiz through age 40 may help Encarnacion’s case. His numbers through 12 seasons speak for themselves. He has posted a triple-slash line of .266/.352/.498 to go with an OPS of .850. Encarnacion has also posted 162 game averages of 33 home runs, 101 RBI, 33 doubles, and 289 total bases. More importantly, his recent performance shows little sign of slowing down.

Outlook

The acquisition of Encarnacion puts the Indians in position to contend next season. He brings a reliable power bat to a roster that already features Francisco Lindor, Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana. Remaining in the American League also ensures that Encarnacion can serve as a regular designated hitter, allowing him to compete late into his 30’s, like Ortiz. Yes, Encarnacion still has to go out and perform, but he should be a solid signee over the course of this contract.

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