Mike Napoli, the feller who Encarnacion replaced in Cleveland, appears close to finding a new home - albeit one that doubles as an old haunt. That made Encarnacion the ideal fit for Cleveland, though it still seemed like an improbable pairing given the club's financial limitations.
And it makes life more hard for teams such as the Yankees, who signed Matt Holliday to a one-year deal worth $12 million this month.
The eleven-year vet is still an elite bat. After all, Cleveland just swept a heavily-favored Red Sox team in the Division Series without Encarnacion, Brantley, Carrasco or Salazar. EE has the second most home runs (193 HRs) over the last five years to Chris Davis (197 HRs).
Encarnacion also was hurt by the fact that whoever signed him would lose a draft pick because he turned down a qualifying offer from Toronto worth $17.2 million. For the first time since Travis Hafner was in top "Pronk" form, the Indians have a 40 home run threat. It's not clear which teams have offered this clause. After Aug. 15, and including the postseason, the first baseman slumped to the tune of a.163 average and.281 slugging percentage. Just one season ago, he inked a one-year, $7 million deal with the tribe after an awful 2015 campaign which saw him hit only.224/.324/.410 with just 18 homers and 50 runs batted in for both the Red Sox and Rangers, the latter of whom he was in his second stint with.
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Yes, the Indians took advantage of a buyer's market for right-handed free agent power-hitting first basemen.
The reported contract for Encarnacion, according to Yahoo's Jeff Passan, is $60 million over three years with a $5 million buyout of the fourth year option. Kinzer told MLB Network Radio that Beane stressed that, should the A's sign Encarnacion, they weren't intending to immediately flip him in a trade this summer. But that may come at a certain price.
The pick-up is an interesting move for a team ranked near the bottom of the league in payroll. He is also a player who gives a team value with his bat but notsomuch with his defensive skills (expect a timeshare with Carlos Santana at first base but with Santana getting the "Napoli-share"). Though his 42 home runs and AL-leading 127 RBIs were both career highs, the former matching his 2012 total, his strikeout rate spiked as his contact rate dropped for a third straight season.