Headlines, Indians

Cleveland Indians Sign Impact Power Bat Edwin Encarnacion

It happened, Cleveland. The Indians have signed first baseman and designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion to a three-year deal with a team option for a fourth year.

Encarnacion is coming off five consecutive years with at least 34 home runs, and posted 42 home runs in 2016, finishing 14th in MVP voting. Encarnacion is projected by Fangraphs Steamer 600 for the 17th highest wRC+ in 2017.

Whether measured by past performance, projection or status, the Indians have signed the best bat available this offseason and one of the 15 best hitters in baseball. Over the past half decade, Encarnacion has been one of the 10 best offensive players in baseball without a question.

Courtesy of Fangraphs

Courtesy of Fangraphs

Encarnacion, however, has offensive component above elite raw power that will aide that fits perfectly with this roster, contact. It is rare in this age to power hitters with sub-20 percent strikeout rate but Encarnacion makes a ton of contact, which fits perfectly in a lineup which has a flood of contact/OBP types. Contact is limited if it is not of a certain quality, Encarnacion hits the ball hard with authority.

Courtesy of Baseball Savant

Courtesy of Baseball Savant

For what it’s worth, Encarnacion fits beautifully in this lineup:

  1. Santana
  2. Kipnis
  3. Lindor
  4. Encarnacion
  5. Ramirez
  6. Brantley
  7. Chisenhall
  8.  Naquin
  9. Perez

Order however you please, the team with an above average rotation, elite bullpen has now become an elite lineup. WFNY’s Jeff Nomina discussed the fit.

The Indians were able to acquire Encarnacion at a below market rate because of a mid-season trade and postseason usage which completely shifted the marketplace and ultimately asset allocation.

The financial implications of this deal are far stretching in terms of players like Santana, Brantley, Lindor, Ramirez and perhaps others but that is a conversation for another team. The Indians went out and got the best offensive player in free agency to add to a team that went to extra innings in Game Seven of the World Series, Cleveland Baseball has not been this exciting in a long time.

Following the most magical Indians season in over a decade, the Dolans fulfilled their promise to spend big when the time is right, signing Edwin Encarnacion.