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Cleveland Indians: 3 reasons why trading Edwin Encarnacion makes sense

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Indians
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

The Indians made a bold move back in December of 2016. After losing the World Series, the team was seeking a big bat to help take that next step.

Enter Edwin Encarnacion.

He signed a three-year, $60 million deal with a club option in the fourth year that would require a $5 million buyout if not picked up. The deal was backloaded so Encarnacion is set to be on the books for nearly $22 million in 2019. That is a huge chunk of the payroll.

This deal made sense at the time. The team was riding the high of nearly winning it all and signed Encarnacion to be an upgrade over Mike Napoli. But then came an early postseason exit in 2017. Then another in 2018.

Encarnacion has hit 70 home runs and driven in 214 runs in his two years with the team. Yet he only has one single hit in two postseasons with the Indians. Even taking into account the fact he got injured in the 2017 ALDS, the numbers aren’t anything to be excited about.

Trading Encarnacion could cut his massive salary and let the Indians use a platoon approach at designated hitter. Over $20 million wouldn’t be committed to that spot in the lineup and the team could add several players who are still early in their service time. This includes players already in the organization.

If the team is seeking to cut the payroll, getting rid of the biggest contract on the team is a top option.