Non-Tender Candidate: Edwin Encarnacion

Edwin Encarnacion will enter his final year of arbitration eligibility this winter, and will be an interesting case for the Toronto Blue Jays. Encarnacion signed a two-year, $7.6MM deal with the Reds before 2009 that covered his first two arbitration seasons, paying him $2MM in '09 and $4.75MM this year. With no contract for 2011 though, the 27-year-old will be a non-tender candidate.

Arguably, the Reds and Jays would have been better off if Encarnacion had gone year to year in arbitration. When he signed his deal, he was coming off a 2008 season in which he'd hit .251/.340/.466 and set a career high in home runs (26). In 669 plate appearances since then, the third baseman has hit .233/.311/.427 with an OPS+ of 95, and was even briefly sent to the minors. The production isn't a huge step down from his '08 numbers, but there are probably better ways for the Jays to spend $4.75MM.

The argument for tendering Encarnacion a contract for next season revolves primarily around his power potential. Even though his OBP and SLG rates have slipped, he's still hitting the ball out of the park, with 23 homers in 504 plate appearances since joining the Jays. Additionally, while "E-5" has continued to make his share of errant throws across the diamond, he's actually enjoying the best defensive season of his career, according to UZR.

The Jays will have some money coming off the books this summer, with Lyle Overbay, John Buck, Scott Downs, and others facing free agency. They'll be able to afford to bring Encarnacion back if they want to, but the bet here is that he won't be tendered a contract. Given Jose Bautista's ability to play either at third base or in the outfield, the team would have some flexibility if they had to replace Encarnacion.

Do you think Encarnacion will be non-tendered this offseason? Click here to vote, and click here to view the results.


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34 Comments on "Non-Tender Candidate: Edwin Encarnacion"


Sniderlover
4 years 10 months ago

“while “E-5″ has continued to make his share of errant throws across the diamond, he’s actually enjoying the best defensive season of his career, according to UZR.”LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLI would be pretty disappointed if E5 wasn’t non-tendered and came back for another season. He pops homeruns occasionally and that’s just about it. Other than that, he can’t do anything.

4 years 10 months ago

Does UZR take into effect the fact that Overbay has been saving his but all season on those throws to first? (This is an actual question; I’m not well-versed in how UZR is calculated.)

moonraker45
4 years 10 months ago

here we go, the overbay is still a defensive wizard myth.. Honestly the only reason this theory still exists is because people try to find any way to justify his playing time.

moonraker45
4 years 10 months ago

here we go, the overbay is still a defensive wizard myth.. Honestly the only reason this theory still exists is because people try to find any way to justify his playing time.

danwatson19
4 years 10 months ago

He plays 2nd and 3rd, and he’ll be cheap.

I’ll bet he’s a likely candidate for the “stopgap” 3rd baseman the Indians will be looking for this offseason, if the Jays pass.

Encarnacion's Parrot
4 years 10 months ago

Ummmmmm.. 2nd?

Sniderlover
4 years 10 months ago

I think he meant DH. He can barely play 3rd.

gs01
4 years 10 months ago

I think E5 is lying about his age now way is he just 27, he looks like he’s in his mid 30’s. I can’t wait till he’s gone just a waste of roster space, he’ll swing at anything doesn’t matter where it is.

moonraker45
4 years 10 months ago

Funny about this article because I actually met edwin tonight, he was actually a really nice guy, and to be honest jays fans have set some pretty unfair expectations on edwin, no matter who we got to play 3rd base after rolen would have been a downgrade defensively. . .

that being said, the guy has power and has a career OPS higher then aaron hill, and i dont hear people screaming for aaron hill’s head after his worst defensive season..

Personally i would keep EE around, Lind goes to first and EE can be a primary DH and back up 1B/3B.

4 years 10 months ago

“that being said, the guy has power and has a career OPS higher then aaron hill, and i dont hear people screaming for aaron hill’s head after his worst defensive season..”

This doesn’t make any sense. A second basemen isn’t likely to outhit a 3B, and if they do than the second basemen is likely an all star calibre player. Hill’s 754 career OPS isn’t that far from E5’s 783 OPS, which says more about how poor a 3B Encarnacion is.

The point is, a 3B with a sub 300 OBP isn’t remotely valuable, especially one with as many defensive issues as E5. If you go by WAR, you could even make the argument that E5 has never been a replacement level player (2 WAR).

The sad part is, that even when Encarnacion was posting 800~ OPS seasons, he was still a middle of the pack to slightly below average offensive 3B. Combined with his poor defense, he’s been one of the worst starting 3B over the last few years. I’d non-tender him. Plus, if you really wanted to keep him you could just sign him once he’s non-tendered for a smaller price.

moonraker45
4 years 10 months ago

Don’t play the whole oh he’s 2b so he can be crappier then 3b. if anything 2b is more of a obp type of position where as 3b is a more power oriented one. .. EE has shown more power then Hill has shown base presence. but i think the shift of designated offensive expectations based on positions are changing, thanks to the likes of tulo, han ram and cano etc. .. That being said i agree with your previous assessment on EE, numbers don’t lie. but at the same time my opinion is not to keep EE at 3b and hope things change and he becomes an adequate defender. My opinion is to keep him on the bench as a primary DH and back up 1b/3b for days off or injuries.. His slugging% is fourth on the team behind jbau, wells and buck, and isn’t spiked off his career average, in fact its lower. So to me its a win win, you get his arm off the field and you give a guy who’s struggled defensively a chance to show up to the ball park, concentrate on his strength and hit the ball. .

jaysfansince93
4 years 10 months ago

ummmm….. actually replacement is 0 war not 2 war, war stands for wins above replacement.

4 years 10 months ago

“that being said, the guy has power and has a career OPS higher then aaron hill, and i dont hear people screaming for aaron hill’s head after his worst defensive season..”

This doesn’t make any sense. A second basemen isn’t likely to outhit a 3B, and if they do than the second basemen is likely an all star calibre player. Hill’s 754 career OPS isn’t that far from E5’s 783 OPS, which says more about how poor a 3B Encarnacion is.

The point is, a 3B with a sub 300 OBP isn’t remotely valuable, especially one with as many defensive issues as E5. If you go by WAR, you could even make the argument that E5 has never been a replacement level player (2 WAR).

The sad part is, that even when Encarnacion was posting 800~ OPS seasons, he was still a middle of the pack to slightly below average offensive 3B. Combined with his poor defense, he’s been one of the worst starting 3B over the last few years. I’d non-tender him. Plus, if you really wanted to keep him you could just sign him once he’s non-tendered for a smaller price.

moonraker45
4 years 10 months ago

Funny about this article because I actually met edwin tonight, he was actually a really nice guy, and to be honest jays fans have set some pretty unfair expectations on edwin, no matter who we got to play 3rd base after rolen would have been a downgrade defensively. . .

that being said, the guy has power and has a career OPS higher then aaron hill, and i dont hear people screaming for aaron hill’s head after his worst defensive season..

Personally i would keep EE around, Lind goes to first and EE can be a primary DH and back up 1B/3B.

4 years 10 months ago

Jose Bautista was a non-tender candidate last year. I think the Jays will roll the dice with E5. The Jays are also real thin at 3rd base outside of Bautista, so I’d have to think they keep him around.

GilFisher
4 years 10 months ago

no he wasn’t, the article clearly reports that he’s been under contract for the last two year.

ghostofpaolo
4 years 10 months ago

That is flat out wrong. Most Jays fans weren’t sure why he came back last year at all because he didn’t have a role and used it as a reason Riccardi was mis-managing us. This year it made a little more sense because he had a decent September and we weren’t competing anyways.

4 years 10 months ago

Jose Bautista was a non-tender candidate last year. I think the Jays will roll the dice with E5. The Jays are also real thin at 3rd base outside of Bautista, so I’d have to think they keep him around.

showmejoe
4 years 10 months ago

I hope they non-tender him, he would be a good depth signing for the Cardinals behind Freese.

showmejoe
4 years 10 months ago

I hope they non-tender him, he would be a good depth signing for the Cardinals behind Freese.

TheodoreRoosevelt
4 years 10 months ago

I can’t see why the Jays would non-tender him.

If Bautista plays 3B and Lind 1B next season, then the roster (as it stands) is stretched. EE would provided above-par cover as a 3B and DH.

Aside from that, the Jays aren’t short on cash, making EE an easy pickup. I’d also suspect that AA would fancy seeing whether the trade value can rise on a guy who clearly has strong offensive upside, but just hasn’t put it all together as yet.

moonraker45
4 years 10 months ago

finally someone with some sense.

SneakyLongBalls
4 years 10 months ago

I agree with everything being written.
One player I hope they track is Derek Lee. Up coming free agent, BARELY holding on to Type A status. Should he fall to B, this would be a no brainer for the Jays.
Champion, 3 time gold glover, power, great OBP and would work great with Lind as a 1B/DH combo. His 13 mill a season days are gone. Maybe a 2 year 10-15 gets it done

4 years 10 months ago

If he’s non-tendered, a return to the NL could do him well. If Atlanta goes cheap this offseason, I could see him as a risk-reward type to replace Chipper. Not that I want that to happen, of course.

4 years 10 months ago

A lot of these comments seem to miss two points: 1) The jays could non-tender him, and then offer him a contract, thereby avoiding having to go to arbitration and paying him anything the area of 4.5 million. If they non-tender and then offer a contract, they could probably get him back somewhere closer to 2 million. 2) The article was not claiming that EE had no value, clearly he has some value, the point is that perhaps equal or greater value can be attained by using that money on a different FA.

moonraker45
4 years 10 months ago

The Jays will have some money coming off the books this summer, with Lyle Overbay, John Buck, Scott Downs, and others facing free agency.

you forgot BJ Ryan!

Sniderlover
4 years 10 months ago

We are also paying Halladay 6 mil.

moonraker45
4 years 10 months ago

That was in 2009 though.

The_Porcupine
4 years 10 months ago

I’m not sure Edwin has ever really had a prolonged period of time to show his potential. He is always getting benched for his defense or been dinged up with injuries. Has he had more than 400 AB’s in a year?

I’m not saying the Jays should or shouldn’t tender him (I say they should so that they can find some way to find room for a viable leadoff hitter), but I think he’s a good buy low player for a team that can show some patience. The Marlins, Indians, A’s, and Orioles might be good landing spots.

Considering his defense, has he ever been put in the outfield? Granted, this only works if his offense is worth putting in the lineup.

Sniderlover
4 years 10 months ago

He doesn’t get benched because of his defense. He usually plays unless Snider needs the spot in which Bautista moves to 3rd, Snider RF, Lewis LF but with Lewis injured and out, E5 plays. He just sucks.

And to play outfield, you need an arm and speed. E5 doesn’t have either. He’s got some decent range at 3rd base but it’s practically useless since he can’t ever throw properly.

4 years 10 months ago

EE has some power potential…….I could live with the poor defense if had some secondary aspect to his game – like speed or a high OBP………But he doesn’t

I agree with gs01, EE looks older than he claims to be,,,,,mid thirtries would be my guess….I’d DFA him, bring in a younger guy like Emaus who has a more well rounded game

moonraker45
4 years 10 months ago

check out emaus’s road splits this year. almost .100 point dip on all aspects out side of the vegas ball park..

kimofromkauai
4 years 10 months ago

He is one of the many under performing MLB veterans who should be shown the door this winter. Charles O Finley (former owner of the A’s) once commented that all players should be free agents after one year and no long term contracts should be given by the teams. His feeling was that flooding the market with “borderline” value players would decrease the demand (salary) for them.

Perhaps an increase in non-tenders will be doing the same thing for MLB owners.

nathanalext
4 years 10 months ago

I’d say they non-tender him.. They already DFA’d him, so, that probably tells you how valuable the Jays see him. He was extremely inconsistent with the Reds, and the looks of things, he’s the same sense he left. I don’t know if I’d pay him almost $5MM. That’d be really a waste of money, especially considering his (lack of) defense.