This is not something you see every day: Jon Heyman reports that Edwin Encarnacion‘s new contract with the Indians has a clause via which he can get around $1 million a year extra based on the Indians’ attendance numbers.
It’s not hard to see why the Indians would gladly pay for that. They’ve have had four straight winning seasons and are coming off of a World Series trip, but they have consistently been near the bottom of the league in attendance. They were 28th in the majors in 2016, outdrawing only Oakland and Tampa Bay. They were 29th in both 2014 and 2015. The last time they weren’t either 28th or 29th was 2011, in fact. They have not drawn two million fans since 2008.
Can Encarnacion help boost attendance? It’s hard to see how a single player can move the needle too much by himself. At the same time it may be easy money for him. Even if the Indians do have a lot of trouble drawing people, even after good years, a World Series appearance is a step above that. It, in and of itself is likely going to improve things a good bit, and when it does, Encarnacion can take the cash and credit.
It’s not a major thing of course — his base salary is 20 times any incentive he can get — but it’s interesting all the same.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.
The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.
Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.
We wait see.
The Dodgers beat the Twins last night thanks to a Cody Bellinger three-run homer. But Bellinger was not the only Dodgers rookie who had a notable game. A far more unconventional one is worth mentioning as well.
That rookie is reliever Edward Paredes, who made his big league debut last night. What makes him unconventional: he’s 30. Turns 31 in September, actually. Paredes pitched professionally for 12 years before making it to The Show. Most of that time was in the affiliated minors in the Mariners, Indians, Angels and Dodgers organizations. He spent time in the independent Atlantic League in 2013-15 as well.
Paredes did not do anything heroic last night. It was more of a right place/right time kind of appearance, retiring the side in order with a fly out, line out and a ground out and remaining the pitcher of record while Bellinger hit that three-run homer. That’s enough for a W, though. A W that Paredes waited a lot longer for than most pitchers who notch one in the bigs.