People were starting to get ancy with all these sluggers on both the free agent market and the trade front staying still so long. It’s the end of December, and there were a slew of some of the market’s best hitters still unsigned and untraded.
That changed on Thursday afternoon, when Edwin Encarnacion signed with the Cleveland Indians for 3 year, $60 million. It’s not the commitment we thought he was going to get at the start of the offseason. That’s less than what Ian Desmond got with the Colorado Rockies. But later we would come to find out that Encarnacion turned down an offer similar to what Yoenis Cespedes received from the Mets, from Oakland. That’s a little out of character, but we’ll let that go.
All the same, now the best hitter on the market has a home. It was said that he had many offers on the table that he was choosing from. Now that he has chosen an offer, it’s likely that the other hitters on the market will begin to fall in line, now that the teams know where Encarnacion is going.
Sluggers Still on the Free Agency Market
Mike Napoli, Mark Trumbo, Jose Bautista, J.D. Martinez, Carlos Gonzalez, Chris Carter, Pedro Alvarez.
Blue Jays, Orioles, Phillies, Dodgers, Giants, Rangers, Athletics, Red Sox.
Take the Indians off the list now that they know that Encarnacion will be replacing Napoli. Now Napoli and Trumbo are the top sluggers on the market, and some teams will likely line up to sign them.
It’s already rumored that the Rangers are the leading candidates to sign their former 1B/C/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers and Red Sox are both in the markets for a designated hitter. They’ll have plenty to choose from, with four qualified DHs still on the market. Expect the Athletics to get involved in the market as well, now that they’ve moved on from Billy Butler.
Giants and Dodgers look to finalize Rosters
The Dodgers haven’t made any major additions this offseason, though they have been busy, resigning Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen, and Rich Hill. They could use an upgrade at second base now that Chase Utley is a free agent. They could resign Utley if they so choose, but they could look to the market. They could potentially add Brian Dozier from the Twins.
There’s also been lots of speculation that the Giants should be in trade talks with the Tigers for J.D. Martinez. Not that the Giants have the farm system to overwhelm the Tigers in a return package, but they likely have just enough to make a crafty trade for him. If not, they still could use another outfielder, now that Angel Pagan is on the free agent market.
There are currently a slew of free agent sluggers on the market. So we have a temporary buyers market in the hitters’ department. But now that Encarnacion has signed, there’s a good chance that the market won’t stay well-stocked for long.
Who do you think will sign next? Let us know in the comments!