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Could Edwin Encarnacion Sign With The Rockies

Could Edwin Encarnacion Sign With The Rockies Keith Allison via


Could Edwin Encarnacion to the Colorado Rockies be a possibility?

Free agent slugger Edwin Encarnacion is still looking for a team to play for in 2017. After hitting 42 home runs and driving in 127 runs in 2016, it is a surprise that Encarnacion has not signed with a team yet.

The 33-year old Encarnacion has spent the last seven seasons in the American League with the Toronto Blue Jays. Since 2012, Encarnacion has hit at least 34 home runs and recorded a batting average of at least .263. Primarily used as a DH over the last five seasons, Encarnacion has also racked up over 3,000 innings at first base during his career. In his time at first base, Encarnacion has committed 26 errors and has a fielding percentage of .992.

Recently, the Colorado Rockies signed Ian Desmond to a five-year contract and forfeited the eleventh overall pick in the 2017 draft. Desmond, who is a three-time Silver Slugger, and two-time All-star, is a natural shortstop. The Rockies already have their shortstop of the future in the form of Trevor Story, which makes the signing of Desmond an interesting one.

In 2016, Desmond signed with the Texas Rangers, and was forced to move into the outfield. Before the 2016 season, Desmond had played exactly 7.1 innings in the outfield. With Texas, he played in 156 games as an outfielder and logged over 1,300 innings. Now, as a member of the Rockies he will be asked to play a position in which he as never played before. That position is first base, which was vacated by Mark Reynolds who left as a free agent after the 2016 season.

The signing of Desmond struck many people as odd because the Rockies are now paying Ian Desmond $70 million over the next five years to play a position that he has never played in his big league career.

Since the Desmond signing, there have been rumors that the Rockies are interested in trading center fielder Charlie Blackmon. The Rockies would want a great package in return for a guy who hit over .300 last year. The likely move would be to bench left fielder David Dahl. Dahl got his first taste of the big leagues last season and hit seven home runs in 63 games. His inexperience would be no match for Desmond who is an eight year veteran and knows how to swing the bat.

Regardless of which outfielder goes, Ian Desmond fits the Rockies best as an outfielder. After trading away or benching an outfielder to make room for Desmond, the Rockies could then turn their focus to first base. There are many first baseman on the market, but Edwin Encarnacion seems to be the best one right now.

Encarnacion has a life-time OBP of .352, a career slugging percentage of .498, and a life-time OPS of .850. Compare that to fellow free agent first baseman Mark Trumbo’s line of a .303 OBP, .473 slugging percentage, and .776 OPS, and the choice becomes clear that Encarnacion is the best fit for the Rockies.

Put Encarnacion in Coors Field and watch him hit 50 plus home runs and drive in 150 plus runs year in and year out.

It is rumored that Edwin has multi-year offers on the table from as many as six teams. It is also rumored that the Blue Jays are out on Encarnacion and are not looking to re-sign him. If the Rockies do sign Encarnacion, they will give up their second best draft pick. That will mean that the Rockies could not have a draft pick until at least the third round.

At this point, the free agent market in baseball is at a stand-still. It does not look like Encarnacion nor any other free agent will sign before Christmas. Once the log-jam is broken, expect to see many players sign in a short amount of time.