Double E Encarnacion finds a home
* Edwin Encarnacion (left) celebrates with Jose Bautista, part of the Jays Dominican duo ….
By Clayton Richer
Baseball Hot Corner
The Toronto Blue Jays signed the man formerly known as “E-5” to a three year extension for a healthy $27 million with a $10 million option for 2016.
Not a bad deal for a man that has been traded, non-tendered and designated for assignment during his eight-year career that began with the Cincinnati Reds in 2005.
Edwin Encarnacion picked the right time to have a career year destroying opposing pitchers to a tune of 23 home runs in the first half of the season. Encarnacion provides nice protection for the home run champ Jose Bautista in the cleanup role and carried the Jays through the first eight weeks of the season when Jays bats were still trying to brush off the winter dust.
Encarnacion was acquired by the Blue Jays on July 31st, 2009 as the main piece of a package coming back to the Jays in exchange for third baseman Scott Rolen. Encarnacion assumed the third base in the absence of Rolen and batted .240 with eight home runs and seven errors in 42 games for the remainder of the 2009 schedule.
The honeymoon phase ended rather quickly for Encarnacion as the 2010 season commenced. Encarnacion struggled at the plate and played terrible defence at the hot corner which garnered the nickname “E-5”. The slump hit an all-time low when the Blue Jays slapped Encarnacion on waivers which he cleared and was eventually optioned to the minor leagues for a 10 game stint.
Encarnacion would return to the Blue Jays and finish out the 2010 season with the big club and show spurts of promise clubbing 21 home runs. Encarnacion finished with the third most errors at his position in the American League committing 18 in only 96 games played a feat not that uncommon for him. In 2006 as a member of the Reds, Encarnacion would lead all National League third baseman with 25 errors.
In the off-season of 2010 during a 34-day span Encarnacion would be claimed on waivers by the Oakland Athletics, granted free agency three weeks later, and re-sign with the Blue Jays 14 days after that. Much to the Jays fans dismay Encarnacion was a part of the jays plans moving forward due to the power potential he displayed at a cost effective price.
In 2011, Encarnacion would go on to play in 134 games with half of those primarily as a DH due to his defensive woes on defence. During the course of that season Encarnacion ventured across the diamond and played in 25 games at first where he appeared more comfortable and a potential viable option at that position.
Encarnacion finished the year with a respectable .272 average with 17 round trippers and.787 OPS.
With free agency looming Encarnacion began the 2012 season on a mission, like a man possessed to crush and destroy baseballs. This excellence would provide the Jays offence with arguably the most power savvy couple in all of baseball. The Dominican duo has an opportunity to break the 100 home run barrier having as a tandem and join a very elite group. The bashers sit with 50 home runs combined coming out of the mid-summer break.
The timing of the extension for Encarnacion comes as abit of a surprise as just recently his agent publicly advised that there would be no on-going negotiations until after the season had completed. However Alex Anthopoulos got the ball rolling going into the break and managed to hammer out a deal very conducive to both respective sides.
I personally like the deal and figured that Encarnacion would have earned more on the open market. However he appears committed to bringing a winner north of the border and Bautista is happy because he now has someone else with deep pockets to pick up the dinner tab.
The next few weeks in Jays land should be interesting, stay tuned ….
In the interim I will be praying to the baseball gods for Justin Upton and Zack Greinke.