Published: Sat, December 24, 2016
Sport | By Fredrick Flores

Indians ink Encarnacion to three-year deal

The soon-to-be former Toronto Blue Jays slugger's agent, Paul Kinzer, revealed Friday that his client chose to sign with the Cleveland Indians for less money than other teams offered, according to TSN's Rick Westhead. The deal is for three years and $60 million, with a fourth-year club option of $20 million or a $5 million buyout, according to multiple reports. All three of Dalton Pompey, Ezequiel Carrera, and Melvin Upton Jr. are capable of providing the same value - or better - which negates the temptation to pay for a similar asset.

The Oakland A's were also involved in pursuing Encarnacion in the final stretch of talks.

The deal is contingent on Encarnacion passing a physical after the holidays. There are still some worrisome fans out there who remember another near Christmas signing four years ago that did not work out as intended.

With Cleveland, Encarnacion will presumably split time between first base and DH with Carlos Santana, who shared those spots with Napoli a year ago with the Tribe.

And make no mistake, adding Encarnacion did close the lineup gap between Boston and Cleveland. Most expected Toronto to attempt to bring Encarnacion back, but even he seemed resigned to his tenure ending late in 2016. Over the past five seasons, only Chris Davis (197) has hit more home runs than Encarnacion's 193, And over that same span, only Miguel Cabrera (569) has more RBI than Encarnacion's 550. He also had a slash line of.263/.357/.529, and was an All-Star for the third time in his career before the Blue Jays ultimately lost the ALCS in five games to the Tribe.

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In seven full seasons with the Blue Jays, Encarnacion was incredibly consistent, belting out 231 home runs.

From reclamation product to bona fide middle-of-the-order star, Encarnacion - who will turn 34 on January 7 - was a quiet fan favourite who did his talking with the bat, hitting 239 home runs over seven-plus seasons in Toronto, placing him third in franchise history behind Carlos Delgado (336) and Jose Bautista (265), who also remains unsigned.

The Texas Rangers were in the running for the Edwin Encarnacion sweepstakes but the former Toronto Blue Jay will now take his talents to the defending American League champion Cleveland Indians. All teams have fields that they can improve in though, and the Indians did.

The team has not officially announced the signing.

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