The Cleveland Indians are a dangerous team with some money in their pocket. Riding high after their monstrous postseason, the front office finally had the opportunity to sign a huge free agent to the roster, enter Edwin Encarnacion.
Encarnacion is a big-time first baseman and an even bigger hitter. Over the past five seasons, Encarnacion ranks second in the majors in home runs (193) and RBI (550), and sixth in OPS (.912). He’s consistently proved that he’s a team player, who can make a huge impact both offensively and defensively.
After turning down a four-year, $80 million offer to stay with the Toronto Blue Jays, many Indians fans, including myself, didn’t think it was possible to score Encarnacion. Initial reports last night confirmed that Encarnacion and the Indians agreed to a three-year, $60 million deal with a fourth-year option worth $25 million.
As excited as I am about the Tribe’s upcoming season with Encarnacion in the mix, I’m sad to see Mike Napoli go. The signing of Encarnacion pretty much confirms the Indians won’t re-sign Napoli as a free agent, even though he provided a calming, reliable presence in the clubhouse and was the go to guy to take some pressure off Carlos Santana.
Encarnacion will now be that guy, taking over the middle of an already talented lineup. Santana’s contract is also up in 2017, so this signing could act as insurance for the Indians for years to come.
If anything, this acquisition shows that the Tribe means business when it comes to winning the big show next year. There’s no doubt in my mind that Encarnacion’s baseball knowledge and veteran skills will help lead the Indians to another extremely successful season.