The Rich Get Richer: Edwin Encarnacion Agrees to Contract with Cleveland Indians

Sep 28, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; (Former) Toronto Blue Jays (Now Cleveland Indians) first baseman Edwin Encarnacion (10) hits a sacrifice RBI against Baltimore Orioles in the first inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

You guys may have forgetten, but I’m here to remind you. The Cleveland Indians forced extra innings against the Cubs in game 7 of the World Series. The whole world gave Chicago the championship before the season even started. But the Indians fell one rain delay short of the biggest upset in decades while playing without three of their best five players. Remain calm Tribe fans, we just landed arguably a top five hitter in all of baseball.

What a day to be an Ohio sports fan. The Cavs are prepping to beat down the Nets tomorrow then turn around to embarrass the Warriors on Christmas, Scott Hartnell just finished off a hat trick and my favorite team of my favorite teams just reestablished themselves as the best team in the American League. Not bad for a Thursday night in December.

As a small market team, I fear moves like this. The last time we decided to bring in free agents they robbed us of a combined $104 million (shoutout to Atlanta for eating about 40% of it). You never know when a guy will fall off the face of the earth like Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn ended up doing at the same exact time. But it feels different with Edwin Encarnacion. He is coming off career bests in home runs and RBI. Are his numbers inflated from playing in the SkyDome? Slightly. But the Jake is HARDLY Petco Park. He’ll love hitting moon shots into the home run porch in left almost as much as I’ll enjoy watching him almost hit those balls off the scoreboard. Numerous members of the Indians lineup had career years in 2016 after the addition of Mike Napoli (including Mike Napoli). Imagine how much better it will be with Edwin anchoring the lineup while protected by some of the best two out hitters in baseball. Time to move to California Indians fans, because we just struck gold.

Projected Lineup

Carlos Santana

Jason Kipnis

Frankie Lindor

Edwin Encarnacion

Michael Brantley

Jose Ramirez

Yan Gomes

Lonnie Chisenhall/Brandon Guyer platoon

Tyler Naquin/Yandy Diaz(?)

That is a scary scary lineup. I told myself all last season that the Indians never belonged in the World Series. Hell, they never belonged in the ALCS because the lineup they put out in 2016 had no big names. We saw everyone from top to bottom finally break of their shell and have the best season of their careers. 2016 was a special season on the shores of Lake Erie and 2017 will only be better. Let’s have some fun. See you guys at the parade.

Terms of the contract are as follows: 3 years/$20 million per with a club option for the fourth season. I couldn’t be happier with this contract for a guy who does the things Eddy does. I joked about giving him $20 million per year with the chance to make $15 million in incentives if the boys were able to bring a trophy home once there was traction on him coming to my city. You know your team wins contract negotiations when your joke flat salary is the real flat salary.