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Edwin Encarnacion returns to Toronto after a brief detour

Dec 16, 2010, 11:16 AM EDT

Edwin Encarnacion

Toronto placed Edwin Encarnacion on waivers in mid-November and he was claimed by Oakland only to non-tendered three weeks later. And now he’s back with the Blue Jays, agreeing to a one-year, $2.5 million deal with a 2012 team option worth $3.5 million.

It was an odd little journey for Encarnacion, but basically the moves boiled down to the Blue Jays not wanting to give him a raise on his $4.75 million salary via arbitration. Instead of non-tendering him they placed him on waivers and the A’s essentially let him sit on the 40-man roster for a few weeks while they decided what to do at third base, eventually agreeing that he wasn’t worth $5 million.

Ultimately it looks like a smart series of events for the Blue Jays, as they retain Encarnacion for about half of what he would’ve made through the arbitration process and also get a reasonable 2012 option out of the deal.

Encarnacion has proven to be a pretty awful defensive third baseman, but Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports that the Blue Jays will likely use him mostly as a first baseman and designated hitter. His offense has also been inconsistent, but Encarnacion has averaged 25 homers per 550 at-bats for his career and should be good for an OPS around .800 if healthy. As usual, Jack Black is very excited about the re-signing:

  1. proudlycanadian - Dec 16, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    Nice round about transaction by the Jays. They retained the player and saved significant money in the process. Encarnacion can hit with power and can catch most of the drives hit to third. He does have some problems throwing the ball accurately to first base, but showed some signs of improvement in the second half of the season. Now they have to sign either a first baseman or a DH (Manny?) as well as figuring out who the closer will be. Zach Stewart who started in Double A last season is a candidate to close as are Frasor and Janssen.

  2. missthemexpos - Dec 16, 2010 at 1:36 PM

    Encarnacion: When he’s hot, he’s HOT, When he’s not, he’s NOT. Hopefully in his second go round with the Jays we get to see more consistency.

  3. proudlycanadian - Dec 16, 2010 at 4:42 PM

    There was an interesting comment on MLB.com. It appears that the Jays are thinking of rotating Lind and Encarnacion between first base and DH. If so, there is no job for Manny in Toronto. Bautista might start the season playing third base. An other alternative, is to sign a second baseman such as Hudson and move Hill to third. The Jays certainly have a lot of flexibility, as many of their players can play more than 1 position. They might also be considering giving infield prospects Hechavarria and Lawrie an opportunity to make the team.

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