Before Edwin Encarnacion agreed to a three-year deal with the Indians, the Athletics made a surprisingly strong push to acquire him, offering Encarnacion a higher average annual value of $25MM, although at a shorter term. Top A’s exec Billy Beane shares the details of his team’s pursuit of Encarnacion, courtesy of Joe Stiglich of CSN Bay Area.
“We just lost out at the end,” says Beane. “The process was a lot of fun because those are not guys we’ve been in on the last few years.”
Encarnacion preferred to play in Cleveland rather than Oakland, since Cleveland would be a closer trip for his family to visit from the Dominican Republic. Beane says the Athletics were aware of the difficulty of signing Encarnacion, but says he represented too good an opportunity to pass up.
“We knew we’d face some headwinds going in,” says Beane. “But again, we saw this as a unique player. … [W]e thought was that type of player who would have served as a real good anchor point with our young pitching and some of our other young players.”
One factor behind the Athletics’ pursuit of Encarnacion, Beane says, was the franchise’s ownership situation. Last month, Lew Wolff sold much of his ownership stake, and John Fisher took over as managing partner.
It appears the team’s play for a big-name free agent in Encarnacion could be its last for a time, however. Stiglich emphasizes that the team’s biggest need right now is in center field, and there aren’t currently any free agents at that position who would justify a large expenditure. Instead, the team will likely look to the trade market as well as the free agent market to find a center fielder.