Oakland continues to be the busiest team of the early offseason, as the A’s claimed 27-year-old third baseman Edwin Encarnacion off waivers from the Blue Jays.
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos indicated last month that Encarnacion was a candidate to be non-tendered after hitting .244/.305/.482 in 367 plate appearances while missing nearly half the season with a wrist injury.
Toronto decided to clear him off the 40-man roster ahead of time and Oakland snatched him up, although Encarnacion may still end up being a non-tender candidate because the $6 million or so he’d likely command via arbitration is pretty steep for a poor defensive third baseman with a .790 career OPS.
However, general manager Billy Beane has made it clear that the A’s are looking for some right-handed power and for all hits faults Encarnacion certainly fits that bill. He isn’t much with the glove and has a .258 batting average in six seasons, but he’s also smacked 25 homers per 550 at-bats and went deep 21 times in just 332 at-bats this season.
Last night’s Angels-Astros game was a long affair with a bunch of homers and the use of 11 pitchers in all. The Angels used six pitchers and all of that business led to plenty of conferences. Six, in fact, which is their allotment under the new rule capping mound visits. As far as I can tell, that makes the Angels the first team to use up all of their mound visits since the advent of the rule.
Sadly, they did not try to go for a seventh, thereby testing the currently unknown limits of the rule. Umpires have been instructed to not allow additional mound visits, but they cannot issue balls or tackle anyone or anything to enforce it. Presumably, if Maldonado had walked out to talk to Cam Bedrosian about the weather or where he was going to dinner after the game, the home plate umpire would’ve simply done the old Robin Williams English policeman’s bit of yelling “Stop! . . . or I shall yell ‘Stop!’ again!” Maybe a fine would issue later, but we’ll never know.
At least until someone breaks the limit. And we know someone will, right? We should have a betting pool on who does it.