Edwin Encarnacion Contract Extension Is A Bargain

Alex Anthopoulos has done it again.

He may be shy about making a huge free splash in the trade market or sticking his neck out for a big time free agent signing but when it comes to re-signing our own talent, he almost always comes out a big winner.

Today the Toronto Blue Jays have extended our 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion to a three-year, $29MM dollar contract extension, ensuring EE will be in Toronto until at least 2015.  I recently wrote a piece saying I thought it made little sense to trade their budding slugger just to add more prospects to an already loaded system and it seems the front office agreed with that rationale.

Let’s break down the contract to see what type of bargain the Blue Jays could potentially be getting.

Over the past three seasons (including his breakout 2012) Edwin Encarnacion has played only 313 games yet has accumulated 5.8 WAR in that same span.  That is an average of 104 games per season so the 5.8 wins were amassed essentially as a part-time player.

On the open free agent market one win is worth approximately $4 million (1 WAR=$4M) so even with a shortened workload over the past three years EE has been “worth” approximately $24MM.  The cost of a win also figures to rise over the next 3-4 years with basic inflationary adjustments.

In only 83 games this season (356 PAs) Encarnacion has already been worth 2.8 WAR (with absolutely zero defensive value) already and the season is barely half way done.  While this might be a career season for him offensively the potential for a huge bat has always been there and he appears to have turned a corner in his career.

For this contract to be fair for the Blue Jays Encarnacion needs to accumulate roughly 6.75 WAR over the duration of the three years (or 2.25 per season).  Consider the fact he will obviously be given full-time at-bats throughout the life of the contract I don’t see any reason why he can’t be at least a 2.3 win player per season.


3 Responses to “Edwin Encarnacion Contract Extension Is A Bargain”

  1. 1 Drago July 13, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Agree with this, it’s a good move by AA. Signing one of the better hitters in baseball over the last year is a no brainier. Sure, there is a chance that EE regresses and turns into an average player, but who cares? It’s not like the Jays are hurting for money. Worst case scenario if EE flops is that Rodgers jacks up my monthly phone bill by a dollar to cover his salary lol.

  2. 2 budyzer13 July 13, 2012 at 2:29 am

    Fair enough deal for what the jays are getting. A DH that can play a little 1B. Not counting the outfield as I seen the last game EE played in LF it was a joke he played every ball on a bounce and looked lost out there. My only reservation is that this is a contract year and it never ceases to amaze me that players in said contract years put up great numbers! Like where was this production when you were in the middle of your contract ? If in a year where your deal is up you can slam 40 HR and hit .300 then you could do that any year and you just weren’t trying ? I know I know he had injuries and missed his mommy yada yada yada. But EE isn’t the first player to pull this stunt off lots of players do and it has always erked me a little. Not much but a little. I do understand the drive to do well so you get paid handsomely but to over achieve to the extent that your previous seasons look like a joke come on really?

    • 3 chief00 July 13, 2012 at 7:35 pm

      Imho I think there’s a closer correlation between his success and being DFA’ed and removed from the 40-man roster than his success and it being a contract year. He’s been tearing the cover off the ball since being re-called from Vegas. By all accounts, he took his release (by both TOR and OAK) and demotion very seriously.

      It’s a good contract whether they keep him or deal him. I think his defense is surprising at 1B, and have no reason to think he won’t get better. He washed out at 3B. It actually detracted from his overall performance. He’s putting up good numbers primarily as a 1B. This has ramifications for the team, too, since Adam Lind’s greatest success as a hitter has occurred when he was a DH. Could the Jays be looking at even better offense than they’ve seen thus far?

      On another note, the standard for a 1B/DH is higher than most positions. 2-2.5 WAR for a 1B is low. If he can sustain 3.5 WAR for the duration of the contract, the Jays look like geniuses and he’ll be rewarded appropriately. His performance splits at Rogers suggest that he should be able to maintain 3.5 WAR with little difficulty.

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