Kevin Jairaj / USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Indians To Sign Edwin Encarnacion

The Cleveland Indians decide to spend big, as they agree to a deal with Edwin Encarnacion.

The Cleveland Indians have reached an agreement with free agent first baseman Edwin Encarnacion on a three-year deal, according to a report from Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. The deal includes a $20 million option for 2020 and is worth $65 million, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. The $65 million guaranteed includes a $5 million buyout if the 2020 option isn't exercised, per Passan.

https://twitter.com/JonHeyman/status/812112493824868352

Buster Olney of ESPN.com had reported that Encarnacion’s representatives had indicated that he was “getting closer to pinning down a deal.” Jon Heyman had tweeted that the Oakland A’s were also interested in him, as Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com said they had offered him a two-year deal with a third-year option.

The 33-year-old Encarnacion burst big time onto the big league stage when he landed with the Blue Jays. Since the beginning of the 2012 campaign, he has been one of the most powerful hitter in the majors, slashing .272/.367/.544, along with 193 home runs and 550 runs batted in, while recording a 146 wRC+.

Despite putting up another quality year of power numbers in Toronto, his strikeout rate reached the highest it has been since his rookie season in 2005 with the Cincinnati Reds (25.6%), as it ballooned from 15.7% to 19.7%. He still kept his walks up, drawing a walk 12.4% of the time last season, which was 1% up from 2014, a year where he posted a 151 wRC+.

Over 702 plate appearances in 2016, Encarnacion hit .263/.357/.529, along with 42 home runs (tied for career-high) and 127 runs batted in (career-high), as well as 99 runs scored and a 134 wRC+. Though he homered three more times than he did in 2015, his raw power output actually had declined and his ISO dropped from .280 to .266 with his wOBA dropping from .392 to .373. He still had a 3.9 fWAR to show for last season.

Over his 12-year career with the Reds (2005-2009) and the Blue Jays (2009-2016), he is the owner of a .266/.352/.498 slash line, along with 311 home runs and 942 runs batted in. He’s averaged 124 OPS+, 126 wRC+ and .232 ISO over his career, as well as posting a 27.6 fWAR, but a 20.2 fWAR since 2012 (only worth 7.4 fWAR from 2005-2011).

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