Edwin Encarnacion has agreed to a three-year, $60 million deal with the Indians. (Getty Images)
Slugger Edwin Encarnacion, one of the most sought-after free agents this offseason, agreed to a three-year, $65 million deal with the Cleveland Indians on Thursday, sources told Yahoo Sports. The deal includes a fourth-year option worth $20 million with a $5 million buyout and does not include any opt-outs, according to sources.
Encarnacion, who will be 34 opening day, entered the market a confusing but intriguing option. His age scared off some teams. His positional limitations – he’s a mediocre-at-best first baseman better suited to DH – scratched off others. Ultimately, his phenomenal production won the day for the Indians.
Nobody in baseball has more home runs over the last five years than Encarnacion’s 210, all of which came in Toronto, where he broke out as a star after five middling seasons in Cincinnati. Over that half-decade, Encarnacion hit .272/.367/.544 and struck out just 474 times against 392 walk. Alongside fellow free agent Jose Bautista, he formed a fearsome, contact-heavy middle of the lineup.
Now Encarnacion takes his skills to the Indians. While he came up short of the five-year, $125 million agent Paul Kinzer sought at the beginning of free agency, Encarnacion’s payday is still strong for a player his age.
Even though they lose Encarnacion’s bat, the Blue Jays don’t come away completely empty, fetching a draft pick between the first and second rounds for tendering Encarnacion a one-year, $17.2 million qualifying offer. The Indians will gladly give up their 2017 first-round pick for his bat in the middle of a lineup that also includes Francisco Lindor, Jason Kipnis and a returning Michael Brantley.