In Cleveland Indians rumors, the Rays are asking the Tribe about potential deals involving Edwin Encarnacion and Yandy Diaz.
For a team looking to scale back spending, moving Encarnacion, who has a $25 million committment, would make sense.
Encarnacion will make $20 million next season. He has a club option for 2020, but the Indians can buy their way out of it for $5 million.
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The Tampa Bay Rays are asking about Encarnacion, but they’ve also inquired about Yandy Diaz, according to Cleveland.com writer Paul Hoynes.
It’s a surprise to hear the low-budget Rays show interest in someone such as Encarnacion, but according to Hoynes, Tampa needs upgrades and has money to spend.
For the Tribe faithful, it’s becoming painful to listen to all these rumors because it’s being perceived that the Indians look cheap, pairing back payroll to fix other holes on the team.
This team just won its third divisional crown and is odds-on-favorites to win the next one, too.
All Encarnacion has done since joining the Indians is produce like we’d all know how.
The soon-to-be 36 year old has cracked 70 homers wile driving in 214 runs. For 2017, he hit .258, while batting .246 last season. His averages have dipped a little from his prime days with the Blue Jays, but he’s still a force in the middle of the order.
Perhaps the Indians will find it easier to trade Encarnacion, a player they’re almost certainly willing to part ways with at the end of the season, rather than a front-of-the-rotation starter.
Diaz is interesting because the Tribe will have him on the cheap, and there’s been talk of him playing third base, with Jose Ramirez staying at second. Diaz could also play first base.
He’s more a contact hitter than Encarnacion, but he won’t come close to matching him in home run totals.
Then you’ve got to factor in return. Tampa’s not going to throw all that much in for a year of Encarnacion, so you’ve got to figure they’re interested in both EE and Diaz.
Their top prospect is a 17-year-old shortstop named Wander Franco, so considering he won’t be making his debut for another four years, you can go ahead and cross him off the list.
While Encarnacion is a good player, he’s not someone who’s going to garner a team’s No. 1 prospect in return.
There’s also Jake Bauers, who hit .201 in 96 big-league games last season. He hit .279 (.783 OPS) in 52 games with the Class AAA Durham Bulls last season. His minor league stats last season better represent his professional career to this point.
With that said, the Majors is a whole new world for guys hitting in the .270s and the bottom line is he’s unproven.
Bauers played a majority of his big-league games at first base, although he did play 20 games in the outfield (16 in left field).
Perhaps a big leaguer such as Tommy Pham would be a place to start. He posted a 1.071 in 39 games after being acquired from the Cardinals. He hit .275 and posted an .830 OPS between both clubs. He plays left field and under club control through 2022.
Sure, I’d take him for Encarancion, but why would the Rays trade him?
TampaBay.com writer Marc Topkin previewed the Winter Meetings for the Rays, and added something I didn’t quite expect. The scribe wrote Tampa could make it a really good winter by trading for someone like Trevor Bauer.
So perhaps this Encarnacion, Diaz rumor is a part of something bigger. We shall see.