Edwin Encarnacion Most Exciting Cleveland Indians Acquisition Since…?

Jan 5, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Newly acquired Cleveland Indians player Edwin Encarnacion speaks to the media during a press conference at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 5, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Newly acquired Cleveland Indians player Edwin Encarnacion speaks to the media during a press conference at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

Edwin Encarnacion is the most exciting Cleveland Indians acquisition since…

The Indians pulled off a major coup in bringing Edwin Encarnacion to Cleveland this off-season.

The acquisition has energized the fan base and is one of the more exciting moves in recent memory for the traditionally conservative organization.

There are only a handful of moves that have had the same impact on Tribe fans like this one. Who else gave Cleveland fans a jolt like this?

1. Matt Williams, 3B, 1997

It’s amazing how often people forget that Matt Williams spent a year in Cleveland manning the hot corner for just over $7 million. At the time, that was a massive amount of money. The front office saw his power bat as the missing piece after a let down season in 1996.

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The Tribe landed Williams for Jeff Kent, Julian Tavarez and Jose Vizcaino.

All he did was earn a Silver Slugger by hitting .263 / .307 / .488 with 32 home runs and 105 RBI. He even earned a Gold Glove that season, making him perhaps the best two-way player on the 1997 AL Championship team.

2. Juan Gonzalez, OF, 2001

Juan Gone had quite the career already while slugging home run after home run in Texas for the Rangers. By the time he had signed with the Indians, he already had two MVP trophies but was coming off a down year the season prior in Detroit. The Indians pounced on him with a one-year deal and he delivered big time, finishing 5th in the MVP voting and earning a Silver Slugger in the process.

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His 140 RBI stand out from that lone season in Cleveland as a major reason why the Tribe won the AL Central that year, which was also the first season after Manny Ramirez left for Boston.

3. Roberto Alomar, 2B, 1999

Maybe the most exciting acquisition on this list, Robbie Alomar was already considered one of the best players in baseball when he came to Cleveland. The eventual Hall of Famer had been elite in both Toronto and Baltimore, so what was not to be excited about?

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Paired with Omar Vizquel at shortstop, the Indians had the best middle infield in all of baseball. Three Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers, three All-Star games, and two top four finishes in the MVP balloting tell the story all on their own. It could be argued Alomar had his best years in Cleveland.

4. Travis Fryman, 3B / SS, 1998

Matt Williams left for Arizona after the 1997 season, but his departure made it possible for the Tribe to bring on Travis Fryman (Indians traded Williams to the Diamondbacks for Fryman).

Fryman had tormented the Indians while playing for the Tigers for 8 years, so why not bring him to town? The moves biggest impact might have actually been allowing Jim Thomas to stay at first base, giving the Indians two true power hitters at each corner.

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Fryman earned MVP votes in two different seasons while in Cleveland and made the Indians 100th Anniversary Team despite his relatively short tenure as an Indian. Injuries may have taken their toll on Fryman, but he was a major piece and a major move at the time.

5. Terry Francona, Manager, 2013

This is cheating a little, but it’s only just a little. The Indians were not a good team when Terry Francona was brought on board to be an agent of change in the Tribe clubhouse. During his time in Boston, Francona won two World Series titles and had won no fewer than 86 games in any season there. After the “chicken and beer” culture tuned out Francona, the Indians were more than happy to give him another gig as a manager. Immediately, the outlook in Cleveland changed right away.

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After 92 wins in his first season and last season’s World Series run, it’s safe to say Francona is the best head coach / manager in Cleveland for any sport.

Next: Thome, Vizquel Should Be HOFers In 2018

Also safe to say the excitement has been worth it.