Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

What Encarnacion's deal means for everybody else

Market set to develop with slugger reportedly headed to Cleveland
MLB.com @philgrogers

So the Indians and Edwin Encarnacion agree to a three-year deal, and it's as simple as this -- rematch in the World Series, Tribe-Cubs, Part II … maybe eight games this time.

Yeah, right.

So the Indians and Edwin Encarnacion agree to a three-year deal, and it's as simple as this -- rematch in the World Series, Tribe-Cubs, Part II … maybe eight games this time.

Yeah, right.

Baseball doesn't work off scripts, at least not the obvious ones.

Hot Stove Tracker

Like life, it's full of unknowns. No one is going to concede anything to the Indians because they've added Encarnacion in the Mike Napoli role. But the deal does come with implications for a lot of other teams and players.

Among the biggest impacts:

Impact for Napoli
We're pretty sure the party is still going to be at Napoli's, but where will that be, exactly? Best guess now is Texas. The Rangers monitored the Encarnacion market but never felt they had the payroll flexibility to land him.

Joey Gallo, a left-handed hitter, is penciled in at first base now and the top three free-agent options are all right-handed hitters. Napoli's a known quantity in Arlington, having hit 30 home runs for the team that lost to the Cardinals in the 2011 World Series, and if he can't stay in Cleveland it makes sense if he comes back to Texas.

Video: Rangers' options after Edwin reportedly joins Indians

Impact for the Blue Jays
The Blue Jays probably wish Encarnacion had taken their $80 million offer last summer, especially considering Jose Bautista has also remained unsigned. But the upside to having signed Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce to deals worth $45.5 million over five years is that Toronto still has money to spend.

Maybe the Blue Jays will bring back Bautista, but something feels off in that marriage. They're well situated to land Curtis Granderson or Jay Bruce from the Mets or acquire Melky Cabrera from the White Sox (like the Napoli deal, a reunion!) but does Toronto have the pieces to pull off a deal for Brian Dozier?

Impact for Bautista
Huh? Why should Encarnacion signing with Cleveland impact him? Bautista seems truly to be a man without a country at this point, heading into his age-36 season after a year in which his rWAR dropped from 5.1 to 1.0. He can help 30 teams if his game rebounds but where does he fit? Wild guess here ... how 'bout the Orioles or the Giants? The Qualifying Offer is an issue but a one-year deal could work for both Bautista and the O's, just like Nelson Cruz's deal did in 2014.

Impact for Mark Trumbo
The guy who hit 47 home runs last season is the big fish on the market with Encarnacion committed to Cleveland. Trumbo is probably not going to get more than the guaranteed $60 million Encarnacion received, but he'll play at age 31 next season, three years younger than Encarnacion, and he can also play outfield. So who knows? The most likely play for Trumbo is returning to Baltimore but he could have a huge impact with the Cardinals or Mets.

Video: Dan Duquette discusses O's interest to re-sign Trumbo

Impact for Chris Carter
Carter could have found a better time to be non-tendered, especially since he doesn't hit left-handed and had 206 strikeouts to go with his 41 home runs last season. Encarnacion, Trumbo and Napoli likely have limited his opportunities. Carter is a good fit with a team that has a left-handed-hitting regular at first base, like the Marlins (Justin Bour) or the Rangers (Gallo). He could become an option for the Orioles if they don't re-sign Trumbo.

Impact for the Athletics
Unofficially a factor in the Encarnacion proceedings until the end, Oakland certainly can afford to upgrade on its first-base platoon of Yonder Alonso and Mark Canha. It's hard to see why the A's would give up a Draft pick to do so, so that argues for either a second helping of Carter or a lesser signing (Logan Morrison, maybe?). Give the A's credit for being there in case Encarnacion fell to them. He could have been quite the trade piece next July.

Impact for the White Sox
The White Sox weren't likely to even consider trading Jose Abreu to a division rival like Cleveland. So having Encarnacion there for three years -- rather than in St. Louis, Texas, Toronto or somewhere else -- increases the options they'll have if they decide to deal Abreu, who has an .875 career OPS and a 143 OPS+.

Impact for the Mets
At the moment, the Blue Jays' outfield has Pearce, Ezequiel Carrera and Melvin Upton Jr. flanking Kevin Pillar. That offers Sandy Alderson a chance to move Granderson or Bruce to Toronto, which would open up the chance for the Mets to deal for Billy Hamilton -- or they could just step up and sign Trumbo. Either way, they weren't going to land Encarnacion and the deal with the Indians opens up some possibilities.

Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Chris Carter, Edwin Encarnacion, Mike Napoli, Mark Trumbo