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Friday, December 16, 2016

Edwin Encarnacion: all but one team will regret NOT signing him.

Home Run leaders 2012-2016:

Rk Player HR AB OPS+ PA From To Age G R H 2B 3B RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Tm
1 Chris Davis 197 2688 130 3095 2012 2016 26-30 743 442 669 130 1 496 341 36 968 42 1 23 26 11 8 .249 .340 .518 .858 *3/D957H1 BAL
2 Edwin Encarnacion 193 2678 146 3133 2012 2016 29-33 727 451 728 145 3 550 392 33 474 31 0 31 80 27 6 .272 .367 .544 .912 3D/57H TOR
3 Nelson Cruz 178 2790 134 3098 2012 2016 31-35 734 408 775 144 4 472 259 26 712 28 0 21 59 22 12 .278 .343 .524 .866 *9D/7H TEX-BAL-SEA
4 Miguel Cabrera 169 2812 166 3224 2012 2016 29-33 745 469 922 177 4 569 368 76 507 18 0 26 113 9 3 .328 .406 .574 .980 *35/DH DET
5 David Ortiz 163 2425 154 2825 2012 2016 36-40 666 360 712 176 3 502 364 93 415 6 0 30 83 6 2 .294 .383 .570 .953 *D/3H BOS
6 Mike Trout 163 2874 173 3423 2012 2016 20-24 771 580 890 169 37 481 468 46 754 46 0 35 37 139 28 .310 .410 .564 .975 *87/D9H LAA
7 Jose Bautista 152 2303 140 2783 2012 2016 31-35 634 423 590 118 4 424 429 18 452 24 1 26 82 28 10 .256 .375 .509 .884 *9/D385H TOR
8 Adam Jones 150 3110 113 3321 2012 2016 26-30 770 451 864 148 9 451 141 10 612 46 1 23 75 42 12 .278 .317 .476 .792 *8/DH BAL
9 Mark Trumbo 149 2613 112 2838 2012 2016 26-30 692 344 658 114 10 428 205 14 728 8 0 12 64 13 10 .252 .307 .474 .781 93D7/H5 LAA-ARI-SEA-BAL
10 Chris Carter 147 2171 116 2521 2012 2016 25-29 649 304 480 101 4 367 298 10 834 24 0 27 47 11 5 .221 .318 .474 .793 *3D/7H9 OAK-HOU-MIL
11 Albert Pujols 146 2826 123 3119 2012 2016 32-36 721 379 752 147 1 488 239 51 349 23 0 31 104 23 6 .266 .325 .474 .799 *3D/5H LAA
12 Todd Frazier 142 2759 113 3069 2012 2016 26-30 750 377 693 141 11 407 246 8 667 35 4 25 62 57 28 .251 .318 .465 .782 *5/3H7D9 CIN-CHW
13 Jay Bruce 141 2798 107 3113 2012 2016 25-29 756 395 678 161 17 460 271 44 760 13 1 29 46 41 16 .242 .309 .463 .772 *9/HD38 CIN-NYM
14 Josh Donaldson 140 2658 139 3068 2012 2016 26-30 704 460 743 157 12 446 348 13 553 33 5 24 69 30 4 .280 .367 .506 .873 *5/DH236 OAK-TOR
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/16/2016.

Of the top 14, three are currently free agents who could be signed by any team:
2. Edwin Encarnacion OPS+ 146
7. Jose Bautista OPS+ 140
9. Mark Trumbo OPS+ 112

Trumbo hit a career high 47 HR in 2016, the most of any player. Trumbo is fairly one dimensional, which is the general knock on sluggers this off season. Encarnacion and Bautista have solid OPS+ (On Base plus Slugging averages adjusted for ball parks and era), so they are not all or nothing players in the batter's box.

One recent explanation for not signing Bautista is that teams are tired of his angry act. Bautista is already 36 years old. Encarnacion, however, will turn 34 January 7. So while he is older than teams want he is by no means ancient. Yet there he sits, waiting for a deal.

Jason Heyward was the big free agent signing a year ago. The Chicago Cubs acted according to the then prevailing wisdom that Jason Heyward would save them so many runs in the outfield and was young enough that he was worth it.

201626Chicago Cubs$21,666,6666.000contracts
201727Chicago Cubs$28,166,6677.000
201828Chicago Cubs$28,166,667Has right to opt out of contract following 2018 season.
201929Chicago Cubs$20,000,000Has right to opt out of contract following 2019 season if he has 550 PA that year.
202030Chicago Cubs$21,000,000
202131Chicago Cubs$21,000,000
202232Chicago Cubs$22,000,000
202333Chicago Cubs$22,000,000
Earliest Free Agent: 2024
2016 OPS+ 70. That means that Heyward in the batter's box was 70 percent of league average. In other words he was a good hitting pitcher, just one with 592 plate appearances. Do you think that Heyward will opt out after next season?

Encarnacion HR, AB:
2012 42  542
2013 36  530
2014 34  477
2015 39  529
2016 42  601

The guy will turn 34 in January. Who the heck couldn't use his bat for the next few years? Number five in Home Runs the last five years was David Ortiz, who was 40 years old during the 2016 season. 2012-2016 OPS+ 154.

It seems that general managers would rather follow the prevailing conventional wisdom than basic common sense. Theo Epstein of the Cubs is hailed as a genius for winning championships with two teams that had not won for VERY long times: Red Sox and Cubs. The Cubs won in spite of Epstein signing Heyward to what may be the worst free agent deal of all time.

Should Cubs fire manager Joe Maddon? Thursday, November 3, 2016

Joe Maddon just won the World Series as manager of the Chicago Cubs, their first championship since 1908. Maddon made fundamental mistakes and was lucky they didn't give the title to the Cleveland Indians.


The worst were Maddon's use of monster closer Aroldis Chapman.
__________________________

See, winning makes mistakes acceptable. But it's foolish to copy obvious mistakes. Which brings us to such an example, the continuing madness of Yankee general manager Brian Cashman.

Yankees are beyond stupid: bad and boring. Sign Aroldis Chapman: $86 million, five years. Thursday, December 8, 2016

Aroldis Chapman back in Yankee Stadium in front of hundreds of Yankee fans at 11 PM wondering how 105 MPH fastball pitcher ages. Thursday, December 8, 2016

Pay per inning: Aroldis Chapman $239,000, Masahiro Tanaka $110,000. Friday, December 9, 2016

Paying exorbitant sums for the outdated closer and passing on a slugger. Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Toronto Blue Jays acquired Edwin Encarnacion from Cincinnati in 2009. It looks like multiple teams made mistakes.
Encarnacion preferred to re-sign with Toronto this off season but turned down $20 million for each of the next four years. Encarnacion may have been foolish. But what about a team like the Yankees? In addition to committing to 29 year old Chapman for $17 million for each of the next five, the Yankees also signed 37 year old Matt Holliday for $13 million but for just one year. But that's $30 million in 2017 for a team that is supposed to be committed to a youth movement. Wouldn't the $30 million have been better spent on Encarnacion who is likely to do something that no Yankee did in 2016 and are unlikely to do in 2017: hit at least 30 home runs?

It's not too late. The Yankees could offer Encarnacion the same deal that he turned down from the Toronto Blue Jays: $80 million for four years. Those would be Encarnacion playing ages 34, 35, 36, 37. That seems perfectly reasonable but maybe just not according to current and fleeting conventional Wisdom.

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