Free agent Edwin Encarnacion has agreed to a three-year deal with the Indians, a source told's Jesse Sanchez on Thursday. The club has not confirmed the report.
According to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, the contract is valued at $60 million, with a $5 million buyout and $25 million option year.
The 33-year-old designated hitter/first baseman, a Blue Jay since 2009, batted .263 with 42 home runs and an American League-leading 127 RBIs in 2016.
Encarnacion had an .886 OPS last season for the Blue Jays, who lost to the Indians in the AL Championship Series. Over the past five seasons, Encarnacion has hit .272 with an average of 39 homers and 110 RBIs in 145 games per year. The first baseman has a .912 OPS over that time period.
The A's, Rockies and Rangers also had been named as possible destinations for Encarnacion.
The majority of the Indians' roster returns intact for 2017, but there was a hole at first base and designated hitter. Last year, that role was filled by Mike Napoli, who split time at both spots with switch-hitting Carlos Santana.
By signing Encarnacion -- and because Toronto extended him a qualifying offer before free agency -- the Indians will forfeit their first-round Draft pick, which was 25th overall. The Blue Jays will receive compensatory pick at the end of the first round, which currently will be 30th overall but that could change depending on where Mark Trumbo and Jose Bautista sign.
While the rest of the AL Central appears to be in various states of transition, the core of the Tribe's division-winning roster is under contract through the 2018-20 window. The club could have a handful of notable free agents next year (Santana) and after 2018 (Cody AllenMichael Brantley and Andrew Miller).
• Over the past five years, Encarnacion is second in the Majors in home runs (193), four behind Chris Davis; second in RBIs (550) behind Miguel Cabrera; fifth in slugging percentage (.544); and third in ISO (.272).
• Encarnacion's power should translate to Progressive Field. In the Statcast™ era (2015-16), he has hit 25 homers of at least 420 feet, trailing only Carlos GonzalezNelson CruzNolan Arenado and Giancarlo Stanton. That places him third among non-Rockies.
• His HR totals from 2012-16: 42, 36, 34, 39, 42. No Indians right-handed batter has hit 35 or more since Juan Gonzalez in 2001, although Mike Napoli hit 34 this year.
• Encarnacion obviously doesn't just mash against lefties. Since 2012, he has a .909 OPS against right-handers, third best among right-handed batters behind only Mike Trout and Cabrera.
•If there was anything concerning for him in 2016, it was his strikeout rate, which jumped to 19.7 percent, after being between 10 percent and 15.7 percent each year since '11. However, his '16 rate still was only 66th highest among qualified hitters.
Jordan Bastian /

Comments are closed.