We are but a few weeks away from the Winter Meetings for the MLB in which we will see a majority of these big name free agents either agree to stay put with their current team or sign larger lucrative deals elsewhere. Over these next few days, myself and fellow Inscriber writer Kenny Magner will be addressing some of the big name free agents and potential new homes for these players. Right now though I’ll be focusing on designated hitter/first baseman, Edwin Encarnacion.
The 33-year-old slugger is currently one of the most highly touted free agents at this current moment and for a good reason. Encarnacion can change the game with one swing of the bat, and that makes him a centerpiece for any lineup. So without any further adieu here are my five potential landing places for Edwin Encarnacion.
1. Boston Red Sox
For the first time in what seems like forever (2003 to be exact) the Red Sox are without one of the best DH’s the game has ever seen in David Ortiz. That in itself should be a good enough reason for the Red Sox to sign Encarnacion, and with the Red Sox having the funds to do so they could offer him almost anything he asks for.
It would be a huge slap in the face for Blue Jays fans since the Jays happen to play in the same division as the Red Sox. Either way this move makes sense for both the Red Sox and Encarnacion as he will be able to remain a DH and not worry too much on fielding. In any sense adding the power the hitting Encarnacion to this already deadly Red Sox lineup would be huge, and having him play 81 games in Fenway could pay huge dividends going forward. This is the most clear cut answer you’ll see all day.
2. Baltimore Orioles
Another AL East team that would love to have him in the lineup, and while this more than likely won’t happen there, in my opinion, is still a small chance it could happen. Last year the Orioles used a ton of players at the DH position in that high-powered offense, Chris Davis, Matt Wieters, Pedro Alvarez, and free agent Mark Trumbo.
Getting Encarnacion in that Orioles lineup every day behind fellow slugger Chris Davis would make this lineup that much more deadly. This is especially true when playing at Camden Yards in Baltimore. Last season the Orioles had one of the best lineups in the entire MLB when it came to hitting the long ball if the Orioles front office can somehow lure in Encarnacion and re-sign Mark Trumbo to play every day in the outfield this Baltimore team would no doubt be favorites in the AL East.
3. Texas Rangers
The Rangers have proved before that they’re willing to spend money in both free agency and making trades, which makes the Rangers a good fit for Encarnacion. Especially with the Rangers losing Prince Fielder last season to retirement due to medical issues adding another big bat who can DH and play first base when Mitch Moreland isn’t playing would be huge for this Texas organization.
The Rangers have a hole that needs to be filled and who better to have to fill it than this guy? He has Texas-size power, and I’m sure fans in Arlington would be ecstatic with this move.
4. Philadelphia Phillies
This may seem odd as far as and NL team signing a designated hitter. However, he can play first base and now more than ever with former first baseman Ryan Howard no longer playing for the Phillies and first base being up in the air this could be a perfect fit. Citizens Bank Park is notorious for being a great hitters ballpark and having Edwin in that lineup 70-75 games in that park couple lead to monster home runs and lots of happy Phillies fans.
5. Seattle Mariners
A bit of a long shot here regarding Encarnacion signing here. However, it could still be a possibility especially with the Seattle front office willing to spend money like we’ve seen them do in signing both Nelson Cruz, and Robinson Cano in recent years.
Cruz can still play every day for you in the outfield and while it may not be a spectacular defense on his part you aren’t paying him for his glove you’re paying him to hit home runs and drive in runs having a 3-4-5 of Cano-Cruz-Encarnacion in any order would be murderer’s row for pitchers.