Technically, I’m breaking my take-Christmas-totally-off rule here, since “Edwin Encarnacion to the White Sox” is hardly sufficiently earth-shattering that it just has to be covered tonight. However, everyone else is asleep, and I just kinda felt like chatting about the signing while I watch ‘Captain Marvel.’ I mean, it’s my own rule, right? I’m allowed to break it.
Anyway, the signing:
Edwin Encarnacion is close to deal with White Sox. Expected to be for 12M once official.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 26, 2019
Per source, Encarnacion’s deal is $11M for 2020, plus a $1M signing bonus. There’s a $12M option for 2021 with no buyout.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) December 26, 2019
It’s another big signing for the White Sox, who’ve already inked Yasmani Grandal and Dallas Keuchel this offseason, and also traded for Nomar Mazara. Encarnacion, 37 next month, just keeps on hitting – he went .244/.344/.531 (129 wRC+) – as he’s one of those rare guys that didn’t figure it out at the plate until he was 30, but then raked from there. Obviously he’ll eventually fall off, but right now, there’s little reason not to anticipate him hitting well again in 2020 in the middle of the White Sox lineup.
The rub, of course, is that Encarnacion is barely a first baseman at this point in his career, and even if he were, that’s where Jose Abreu is locked in. Encarnacion hasn’t played so much as an inning elsewhere in five years, and is primarily just a DH.
On the White Sox, then, you’re locking in some rough defense at first base (Abreu), in left field (Eloy Jimenez), and in right field (Nomar Mazara) with this signing of a dedicated DH. It’s a really great move for the lineup, but if defense matters at all, it could be rough in spots for the White Sox. The rotation could be solid, though, and the lineup will be strong. Good on them for going for it.
The White Sox were recently rumored to be in on Nick Castellanos, but with Encarnacion owning the DH spot, it’s virtually impossible to see the White Sox dedicating a pricey multi-year deal to Castellanos, where he’d be locked into the outfield, and Mazara – who does hit righties very well – would be moved to the bench. It’s not like you’re gonna sign Castellanos to be the short-side of a platoon and never DH, so I really don’t see them in on him at this point.
The Cubs obviously still would love to have Castellanos back, and it seems the feeling is mutual. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen until the Cubs move out significant salary, and other teams – the Rangers and Giants, among them – are already interested in Castellanos, without those same temporal or financial limitations.