Big news from north of the border: the Toronto Blue Jays have signed Edwin Encarnacion to three-year, $27 million deal. It kicks off next season and runs through 2015. There is a $10 million club option for 2016.
Encarnacion is having a career year, hitting .295/.382/.565 with 23 homers and 58 RBI. The home run total is already a career high. His career high in RBI is 76 and he should surpass that too. He’s 29 years-old.
This is a good deal in my view. It’s not a price that suggests that the Jays are expecting 150 OPS+ production from Encarnacion for the next three years. Indeed, Mark Reynolds will make more over the next two years of his deal than Encarnacion will make over the first two years of his and Mark Reynolds is terrible.
Seems like a solid deal for a guy with an above average bat who just may put up another significantly above average season or two over the next few years. It also takes a potential trade target for many teams off the market.
The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.
Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.
Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.