The Cleveland Indians just need to stay one move ahead of the Blue Jays and the Rangers, since Edwin Encarnacion is waiting for the best offer.
The Cleveland Indians came back without any new contracts from the Winter Meetings in Maryland this year. However, they are still in the works of some possibly great deals for next season.
The one deal that would be especially great: signing Edwin Encarnacion, who would be a great fit in Cleveland.
The Indians do not need a lot more players to keep their roster strong. Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said it himself, “It’s still the Indians on top, and they have a very good team, and the vast majority is coming back. Right now they are the cream of the Central Division, and it’s up to us to catch them.”
The Indians declined options for Coco Crisp and Jeff Manship, and are still waiting on signing Mike Napoli, since he is asking for a three-year deal at 35 years old. The Indians and Napoli need to both meet halfway if there is a contract to be signed between the two. Rajai Davis is also a free agent.
Encarnacion is exactly what the Indians are looking for. This year, he batted .263/.357/.886 for the Toronto Blue Jays, where he had 127 RBI, and hit 42 home runs. This slugger is 33 years old, and while he is toward the top of the Indians’ rather low budget, he is a solid investment. He was paid $10M last year from the Jays—Napoli was paid $7M this year from the Indians.
As much as Napoli is a Tribe favorite, Encarnacion is a slightly younger, ideal replacement for Napoli. He is a slugger, solid first baseman, and can be the perfect Indians’ designated hitter—just like Napoli was.
To add on, the Texas Rangers can’t afford him, and the Blue Jays don’t look like they will be re-signing him. The Indians just need to stay above the competition, since Encarnacion is waiting for the best offer.