The cost to sign free agent 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion for the Cleveland Indians is more than just money.
Yesterday, the Cleveland Indians agreed to a three-year deal along with an option with Edwin Encarnacion. Despite not getting the offers he initially expected, Cleveland from the start looked to add the former Toronto Blue Jays’ slugger as an upgrade in the middle of the lineup.
Every offseason many players are tagged with a draft pick compensation should they not re-sign with the team they played for during the season. In Encarnacion’s case, it was a first round pick. As a result, Cleveland will have to give up their first rounder, 25th overall.
Yes, it is impressive Cleveland landed Encarnacion. However, they also made tens of millions of dollars via this past season’s World Series.
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As a result, it made all of the sense in the world to spend some of that money on much-needed help. Hopefully we see EE stay throughout the duration of his contract.
Since the Indians build through the draft and signing veteran players to lower than normal contracts, it is understandable how such a wait happened. On the other hand, it is not everyday a play like Encarnacion is available and wants to play for Cleveland. Regardless of why exactly it took so long is not the point as the Indians ultimately landed him.
Still, it had to have been tough for Cleveland’s front office to give up their first round pick. Now, the MLB draft last 50 rounds, much longer than any other draft. The room to be successful in drafts in MLB is much greater than that of the NBA, NHL, or NFL.
Like those others drafts, there is no guarantee first round picks are going to be a hit. Too often we see players become average at best. At the same time, some of those players are complete busts in a blink of an eye!
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Make a choice, what would you rather have for the Indians: A first round pick you can select any player with (which you can do yearly) or a reliable veteran in Encarnacion? The choice should be obvious.
Each year MLB teams find players drafted in the 30-50 rounds who becomes difference-makers. Not to mention the international signings, something that is becoming more popular than ever before. There is also the possibility a drafted player does not end up even signing with the team.
Too much has to go right for a player to be drafted and ultimately making their way to the majors. Cleveland can still improve their outfield, but if the season started today, fans can confidently believe that the Tribe has as close as a complete team as one can have.
As unfortunate as it may be to lose their top draft pick, Cleveland will have 49 other rounds to potentially stock up their roster for the future. I am not disappointed to see a draft pick go, especially knowing that EE is the reason why.
There are plenty of reasons to be a bit apprehensive about such a deal. However, very soon we will see that there will be nothing to worry about. After all, Cleveland did upgrade with the EE signing (42 home runs in two of the last five years and 100+ RBI in all but one season during that same length of time is no fluke).
The Tribe is continuing to move forward, rather than staying in neutral. Good things will continue in 2017 and beyond!