Potential Pinstripes: The case for Edwin Encarnacion

I’m going to preface this article by saying that I’m aware that it doesn’t make much sense to sign any slugger heading toward the wrong side of 30 to a big money deal. This is especially true for the Yankees since they seem to be shying away from lengthy contracts for older players and because they just brought in Matt Holliday whose best fit for the team is at the designated hitter position. In spite of those reasons, I think they should sign Edwin Encarnacion anyway.  My reasoning for this is that simply put, even at the age of 33 and even though he’s pretty much only a DH just like Holliday, he’s still a hitter to be feared at this point in his career.
Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton | USA TODAY Sports

With the way this year’s roster appears to be shaping up, the Yankees bringing in a player like Encarnacion would complicate things a little bit, most notably for Holliday. Something that Holliday and Encarnacion have in common is that they are both subpar defenders. The Yankees would not give Edwin the big money, multi-year deal he would surely command to platoon with anyone. He would be brought in to be the DH, play first base every once in a while and most importantly hit a lot of home runs. Still, a move like this wouldn’t give Matt Holliday much to do on a daily basis unless a player already on the roster is moved. Having Encarnacion on the roster would push Holliday out of the everyday DH role he seems destined to fill and into a backup 1B/OF role that would suit him far less.

This article however is not about everyone else on the roster, it’s about Edwin Encarnacion and how he is a heck of a baseball player. He’s known for his ability to hit home runs, something he does incredibly well, tying his career high this past season with 42 and also posting a career high in RBIs with 127.  That is not the only trick he has up his sleeve. Since his breakout several years ago with the Blue Jays, he has consistently had a batting average in the .270 range and also had fewer than 100 strikeouts in all but one of his seasons in Toronto. In addition to the home runs, he has shown the ability to get on base, posting an OBP of no less than .354 over the last five years and getting as high as .384 in 2012. He will also take his walks, posting between 60 and 80 consistently over the last five seasons. All of these things make Encarnacion a far more complete hitter than just your average power hitter who posts a low batting average and strikes out a lot. Edwin would bring power from the right side, a definite need, in addition to patience and the ability to get on base. 

Overall, Encarnacion would be a very strong addition to the Yankees lineup. He would instantly become the team’s most dangerous hitter in recent memory (with the possible exception of Gary Sanchez). Although it might complicate the situation for some players already on the roster, I believe it makes more sense to get the talent on the roster and sort the rest out later. Having a player like him on the roster would take some pressure off the young hitters and would offer great protection behind a player like Sanchez in the middle of the lineup.  Although he has his flaws, Encarnacion would be a signing that the Yankees could greatly benefit from and I for one would love to see Edwin walk the parrot in the Bronx starting next year. 

Article by: Matt Graziano


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