Jays Bring Encarnacion Back

The Toronto Blue Jays signed last year’s third baseman Edwin Encarnacion to a one year contract worth $2.5 million plus a club option for $3.5 million in 2012.  It’s expected that Encarnacion will split time between first base and designated hitter with Adam Lind.  The signing likely eliminates any interest that the Blue Jays had in Derrek Lee or Adam LaRoche.

Encarnacion, who hit 20 home runs last year, is a terrible, terrible defender, who earned his nickname E5.  Still, there’s always the hope that he can regain whatever it was that led to his first three full seasons in Cincinnati.  Even with his recent struggles to get on base, with a career .847 OPS against left handed pitching, Encarnacion hits southpaws well.  Something that can’t be said for the other side of this first base / designated hitter duo, Adam Lind.

As the available first baseman dwindle, the signing isn’t as flashy as bringing in Derrek Lee, but it likely doesn’t cost as much either.  Investing $2.5 million isn’t going to break the bank anymore than Encarnacion is going to break any records.  It’s a safe signing.

Also, there’s this:

Comments (48)

  1. I’d play him at 3B. He has more value there, and that allows you to still sign Manny.

    Who else do they have that’s going to play the position?

  2. Bautista. His fielding, aside from a brilliant arm, isn’t all that spectacular. I see your point though. Encarnacion leaves several options still available.

  3. Agree with Fullmer Fan – really hoping they sign Manny as a full-time DH. It would allow Encarnacion and Batista to play 3B and allow Davis to play OF if Batista is at 3B.

  4. I agree it is a safe signing, really he may decent 1B…The guy can hit the ball a ton, teaming him with lind is a good idea…

    I really hope he does not sneak back into third base, can’t wait to see what they do there.

  5. If it’s Bautista, then somebody has to play RF and they don’t have anyone for that either.

    It makes far more sense to simply let E5 play 3B, see if he can continue the improvements defensively that he made there last year, and sign Manny Ramirez.

  6. I forgot about Raj…man, I hope they aren’t considering him as a full-time RF.

  7. Wilner suggested moving E5 to first at somepoint last season.

    Hopefully E5 only plays against lefties and that JPA gets to split time at DH. I am curious to see if AA signs a 3rd baseman before spring training. Any idea which 3Bmen are available?

  8. This is a sad, sad day. A day after seeing the Yankees lose out on Lee and thinking “wow maybe we stand a chance” the jays go out and do this as if almost to say “nope, we still don’t stand up until at least 2013″

  9. I don’t mind this signing. My only concern is that they don’t decide to platoon Lind and Encarnacion at first and sit Lind when a lefty is on the mound. Lind had a decent/good year against lefties in 2009. I’m hoping that he can return to that next year.

  10. ^^someone liked my name and decided to impersonate. Jerk.

  11. JRock: The Jays were never planning on competing in 2011 no matter WHAT the Yankees did. Sorry.

  12. I like this signing. Low cost, and his splits show that he is good against lefties.

  13. Sorry about that JRock1, didnt even notice!

    They might not have been planning to, but the Yankees losing out on Cliff Lee and signing Russell Martin realyl opens the door. Read Griffin’s cloumn yesterday, it makes alot of sense.

  14. Renegade: but 1 year ago they had a 2 year plan, it really seems like 1 year later they now have a new 2 year plan…

  15. You shouldn’t be using Richard Griffin articles to form your opinions.

  16. AA has never had a “2 year plan”. His plan is to accumulate enough talent throughout the organization (majors and minors) to be perennial contenders. This is a contrast to JP Riciardi’s plan of drafting players that will make it to the major’s quickly and filling the holes with free agents and going for it now without thinking about the long term health of the organization.

  17. E5 as a right-handed complement to Lind at 1B and DH would actually be pretty useful. I definitely don’t like the idea of him playing third base every day. Given that he seemed to be playing through injuries pretty much constantly last year, who knows: maybe he can still be a useful piece if he’s healthy.

    To be honest though, I hope they don’t just straight platoon Lind and EE from the get-go. Lind put up a .780 OPS against lefties in 2009 – I’d like to see if he can maybe regain that form first before relegating him to the bench against lefties for the rest of his career.

  18. Yeah, having Texeira, Arod, Cano, Granderson, Sabathia, Rivera, etc. really opens the door for the Jays. The Yankees still have a ton of elite talent without Lee.

  19. I still think E5 and Lind cannot be a strict platoon. The Jays need to give Lind the opportunity to make the adjustments and return to hitting lefties as he did in 2009. If he can make the adjustments he has much more value down the road than he does if he still can’t hit lefties.

  20. It’s definitely not a strict platoon. Like I said before, it leave a ton of options open. The Jays could still acquire anyone that they’ve been after already, and at $2.5 million there’s no problem using EE as a bench guy who can fill in at either corner infield spots.

    Worst case scenario, they don’t make another move this offseason, and a guy who once hit 26 HRs in a season is an everyday player.

  21. I read too much Jays stuff, what I meant was from everything I read it seemed like the general opinion was we were a couple of years away, a year later and it seems like we are “a couple of years away” and the beat goes on…

    I do like the direction AA is taking the club, I guess I’m just a little impatient…

  22. Of Encarnacion’s 103 career errors, 66 of them have been throwing errors. His footwork and hands aren’t great, but they aren’t his biggest problem. Moving him to first might not be too bad, maybe he’ll be a much better fielder when he doesn’t have to throw across the diamond.

    I’ve said all along that Bautista would be more valuable as a 3Bman simply because it’s harder to find good 3Bman than corner outfielders. Snider is probably the best bet outside of Bautista to play RF. I think there are much worse options to play in LF than Rajai Davis.

  23. E5 is still only 27! I thought he was much older for some reason. Maybe he just looks old.

  24. Anyone recall any blog analysis of why Lind couldn’t hit lefties in 2010? Is it a specific pitch that is doing him in?

  25. I don’t see it as any kind of “straight Platoon”

    I see Lind as the starting 1B unless his defense becomes brutal.

    I see Eddie as the primary DH, and he may spend some time at 3B if he earns the confidence of Mr. Farrell.

  26. @ JRock: The coaching staff was encouraging him to pull everything. Lind plays best when he uses an all-fields approach. I’m going to look up his second-half splits against lefties, I feel like they will be better than first half.

  27. I might be crazy, but I think EE could be a really good defensive first baseman. He always seemed to have quick reflexes and got to/stopped a lot of balls that other guys wouldn’t.

    I didn’t see a lot written about this, but there was an article on the Jays’ site about how Lind is heading down to Dunedin next week and again in January to do some extra defensive work at first base with Butterfield and other coaches. I wonder if they’ll send EE along now too?

  28. Also, here’s something interesting…

    EE’s career OPS: .790, age: 27 (turns 28 in January)
    Lind’s career OPS: .796, age: 27 (turns 28 in July)

    They’re a lot more similar than most people (myself included) would tend to think.

  29. love the move.

    all they need now is to sign scott podsednik. then the jays have a great dh/of/1b platoon type carousel with lind, encarnacion, davis, and podsednik.

    that will protect lind’s development at first and against lefties (if he stumbles). while the three other are put in a good position to put up numbers (because they will be used properly ie. left/right match ups).

    the three players (encarnacion, davis, and podsednik) can turn into the 2011 version of alex gonzales and be dealt by the dead line.

    f-ing brilliant!

  30. heres hoping he promised to hustle every game….

  31. Actually E3′s defensive problem is the erratic arm. His range at third seemed at least average to these eyes, and certainly good enough for part-time at first.

    And the fact he can at least stand at third if you need to make late-inning moves doesn’t hurt. Injuries have factored. Good signing at those dollars.

  32. Ike: I remember last year, Cito responded to accusations of EE’s perceived lack of hustle by saying that he had a nagging knee injury and the coaches had actually told him not to run hard on groundouts, so as to avoid unnecessary strain on his knee.

    Skipping past the obvious reaction of “Why the heck wasn’t he on the DL, then?!” leads me to want to give him the benefit of the doubt with regards to his work ethic. If he was instructed not to run out ground balls, then – crazy as that might be – I can’t really blame him for not running out ground balls, y’know?

  33. Nobody else was going to sign with the jays and you know that he will hit at least 23-27 hrs , so why not. I do not think he can pitch but you never know, and with the loss of half of your bullpen he may end being the surprise closer!!

  34. I still would like to Justin Upton in a jays outfield Batista wells and Upton plus u can bring in Vladamir Guerrero at DH and move Lind to first

  35. if he hits anything above 28 we atleast have to ask the question…

  36. EE has played only 2 games at 1B (total of 9innings) in his 630 major league games played. And has only played 2 games at 1B in the minors.

    How bad is Lind at 1B if AA decides that EE will be the platoon guy to play 1B/DH along with Lind?

    Will be interesting to see how EE does at 1B.

  37. ShiDavidi: From AA conf call: Return of E5 means Jays set at 1B and DH with him and Lind. Also looks like Bautista at 3B, JPA/Molina at C.

    Set at DH? That is really disappointing if true – quite a few options out there.

  38. Sounds like the Jays decided to go cheap at DH/1B/RF/3B if that’s the case. Not that it should be surprising.

  39. Point is Jays will not be competing for a playoff spot in 2011 so these type of signings at 1yr is low risk and no big deal. Just fielding a team and letting their young guys get the needed AB’s and innings pitched in the process.

  40. Now the question is what will AA do if Bautista gets off to a torid HR pace at the start of the year? Try and sign him to a 3yr deal or trade him at what could be his highest value and get some top blue chip prospects back in return?

  41. Don’t forget that AA has been pretty willing to flip players…. having guys who can play 1B/3B/DH (EE), 3B/RF/DH (Bautista) and 1B/DH/LF (Lind) means that a trade of Bautista/Davis/Encarnacion/Lind/Snider would leave enough major league depth in the system…

    Personally, I’d like to see a RF signing and move bautista to 3B, but I think 2.5 million for EE is nothing but upside for the jays.

  42. I’m sure this has been discussed and evaluated by the “Getting Blanked” crew, but defensively where is Bautista more valueable? At 3B or RF? Not sure if there’s a large enough sample size to make a definitive assessment on which position but would be interesting to see.

    I’m sure there’s a stats-head out there that has all of Bautista’s UZR’s/WAR and other accronyms stats to fill us in.

    • I don’t have it in front of me, but I remember that Bautista’s range varied widely over the last three seasons. 2010 was his worst defensive season in the outfield. At third, if I recall correctly, he’s shown improvement each year.

  43. I hate the idea of J Bau at third. Much more valuable to have that arm in right.

    I could live with it, however, if they take a look at Thames or Loewen or one of the other minor-keague outfielders. Rajai Davis every day isn’t going to cut it.

  44. I don’t mind this signing. I was happy to see him get picked up by the A’s because I did not like his contract at all. At $2.5 he really doesn’t seem like a terrible option for a platoon/bench player. Still, I think a more pressing issue, since Bautista and JMac could both play 3rd, is the bullpen. I’m actually happy to see that Frasor stuck around, thought I hated his guts last season, but this leaves him, Camp, Purcey as the core of the bullpen? Or am I missing something here?

  45. Alex Anthopoulos has already said time and time again that the Jays are not looking for a playoff spot in 2011. He is rebuilding the minor system, and is properly developing the team into a perennial contender, so don’t expect some blockbuster move unless it makes sense for the future of the franchise.

    Signing Adrian Beltre, or Scott Podsenik, or Paul Konerko for the empty spots doesn’t make sense for a rebuilding team. Platooning Lind with a cheap Encarnacion, while letting Lawrie, Marisnick, Cooper, etc. play it/battle it out.

    Good move by AA, cheap option that really has no risk to it and still leaves numerous options open.

  46. Yeah I don’t like Bautista’s defence that much anywhere, actually, but he’s got a gun for an arm and has stopped a lot of baserunners from taking the extra base. He has shitty range to his right in the OF, and that’s a problem with Vernon’s inexplicable mediocrity the last couple of years.

    The guy’s athletic, but he just never looks comfortable at third to me. Subjective comment, yes, but those defensive stats are suspect in the same way.

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