Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion, enjoying a breakout performance at the plate, has confirmed a 3-year contract that begins next season.
The $27 million contract contains a $10 million club option for the 2016 season.
The 29-year-old Dominican native is batting .295 with 23 home runs and 58 RBIs.
”I’m very happy to be part of this organization for the following 3 years,” Encarnacion said.
”That’s why I signed to stay here. I love this country, I love Toronto and I love the fans.”
Encarnacion is tied for 4th in the AL in home runs, 5th in slugging percentage (.595) and 7th in RBIs.
In his 8th season, he has a career .267 average with 140 home runs and 450 RBIs for Cincinnati and Toronto.
”We’ve really seen him grow as a player, grow as someone that silently leads in the clubhouse as well that is really well-respected,” Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos said. ”The ability’s always been there. I believe it eventually began showing at the end of last year and currently now.” NFL spreads
Things have not always been smooth for Encarnacion though his 8-year career. Originally a member of the Reds, Encarnacion arrived in Toronto as a part of the trade that sent 3rd baseman Scott Rolen to Cincinnati on July 31, 2009.
Encarnacion struggled at the beginning of the 2010 season, and after an particularly disappointing West Coast road trip he was placed on outright waivers on June 20. He cleared waivers because of his $5 million deal and was sent to Triple-A Vegas.
Encarnacion finished the 2010 season with the Blue Jays, but was relinquished in the offseason and claimed by Oakland. When the A’s didn’t offer him a contract, he returned to the Blue Jays as a free agent.
”This game is not very easy, it has its ups and downs,” Encarnacion said. ”They sent me down, I passed waivers, but that’s part of this game… That’s why you’ve always got to keep your head up, keep working hard and don’t worry.”
Anthopoulos said Encarnacion impressed the Blue Jays with his positive reaction to adversity.
”I remember when he went down, he had a guaranteed agreement and (I presumed) he’s possibly going to be upset. The reports we received back from the staff in Las Vegas were unbelievable,” Anthopoulos said. ”It’s rare. He could have sat there and announced ‘Woe is me,” he may have put his head down, but he kept fighting.”
Anthopoulos declared he doesn’t like working on contract extensions in the season because they can be distracting, but claimed the All-Star break proved the opportune time to sign Encarnacion before the trade cut off point and silence any rumors that the Toronto Blue Jays might be interested in shopping him around.
Encarnacion is known for his power, not his defense, but he has successfully transitioned to 1st base this year. He has split his time between 1st base and DH in 2012, and figures to continue in that role for the period of his extension.