I heard it over and over on talk radio and sports programs about the woes of getting Edwin Encarnacion. I watched him whine in Toronto during the playoffs. I even nicknamed him Edwhine, but the bottom line is that I still respected him as a hitter. His name is known to any true baseball fan, revered by rookies, and feared by pitchers.
Cleveland fans tend to have a problem with drastic changes. The moment it was released that Edwin would be on the Indians, the radio was filled with haters. He’s old. He’s washed up. Look what he did in the playoffs.
Well, let’s look at those complaints.
He’s Old: That completely depends on the player. For Edwin, he’s not old yet. At 34, he’s prime for power, which is exactly why Cleveland has him. He’s still a clutch hitter.
He’s washed up: What planet are you referring to? Oh, because he started terrible. Edwin’s history will tell you that he’s notorious for terrible starts. By all means, Ed, get it out of the way early. Most players only wish they could do it that way. I wouldn’t consider his 2016 stats anywhere close to Washed Up. He was 1st in AL with 127 RBIs and 3rd with 42 homers.
Look what he did in the playoffs: This one cracks me up. He was actually amazing in the playoffs, until he faced Cleveland! In the 2016 Division Series, he batted .417 with a .500 OBP and .917 Slugging. Cleveland, however, did not allow such greatness to emit. Out of the 19 at bats against Cleveland, he only produced 4 hits and 2 RBIs. Let’s change this to “Look what he did against Toronto,” because he was on fire. Let’s change this to “Look what he did against Los Angeles,” hitting a walk-off grand slam.
I think that most of the fan frustrations have come from knowing that Cleveland has one of the best farming systems in the league, and have been known to use it against fans’ wishes, trading prospect after prospect. Cleveland was doing itself a big solid in the long run and we are looking at the results. Remember, we got to watch an unhealthy team make it all the way to Game 7 of the World Series while a number of our big names were on the disabled list. That, my friends, is good depth, and is also what most teams lack. Edwin is a superb addition to Cleveland’s depth. He has a while to go before we need to worry about him. Let’s savor the season.