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Friday December 17, 2010 8:33 pm

One man’s Edwin Encarnacion trash is the same man’s treasure

Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, MLB,

Edwin EncarnacionThere seems to be no end to Alex Anthopoulos’ creativity. The Toronto Blue Jays GM made another “right move” yesterday when he signed Edwin Encarnacion to a one-year deal. It wasn’t the right move in that Encarnacion can turn the Blue Jays’ fortunes around or that he’s some diamond in the rough that nobody has noticed until now. This, however, may have been one of those right moves that not even Anthopoulos himself saw coming.

You see, Encarnacion spent the 2010 season in a Blue Jays uniform. He played third base when injuries or poor on-field play didn’t prevent him from fulfilling his duties. The Blue Jays declined to offer him arbitration, which likely would have netted Encarnacion something between $5 and $6 million. Instead, they traded him to Oakland, who also declined arbitration, leaving Encarnacion a free agent. Anthopoulos then signed Encarnacion to a $2.5 million deal, effectively saving the club at least that much through an unforeseen yet welcome turn of events.

The man fans affectionately branded “E5” missed time with a wrist injury and also spent a few weeks in Triple-A Las Vegas due to his poor defensive skills – Encarnacion throwing from third to first was as much of a thrill ride as any roller coaster. More good news for Blue Jay fans is that Encarnacion will play backup DH/first base with Adam Lind in tow, negating the concerns over Encarnacion’s throwing arm – and Lind’s defensive skills. Encarnacion hit 21 home runs in 96 games last season, so his power as a DH might come in handy.

With every major free agent first baseman signing elsewhere in previous weeks and the Blue Jays looking to develop Lind into a bona fide one-bagger, signing Encarnacion as a backup; and not promising him an every day job really helps everybody. Encarnacion has a job again, the team has insurance in case Lind doesn’t work out at first; and fans know that “E5” won’t play third base regularly anymore. What’s next in Anthopoulos’ magic bag of tricks is anybody’s guess.



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