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The Chicago White Sox will find out just how many long balls Edwin Encarnacion has left in the tank.
Encarnacion reportedly agreed on Wednesday to a free-agent contract with Chicago for one year and $12 million.
MLB Network’s Jon Heyman first reported that the deal was close before others reported that the deal was done.
The soon-to-be 37-year-old is one of the most accomplished power hitters of the past decade. Over the last eight seasons, he’s led MLB in total homers and RBIs, hitting no less than 32 long balls in each year during that span and reaching the 100-RBI mark six times.
The White Sox will be his fifth club in the past four years. After more than seven seasons — three in which he was named an All-Star — with the Toronto Blue Jays, Encarnacion signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Cleveland Indians after setting career highs with 42 homers and an American League-best 127 RBIs in 2016.
He was dealt to the Seattle Mariners last December and was the AL home run leader at the time of his trade to the New York Yankees in June. New York declined his $20 million option for 2020, so his market wasn’t inhibited by any penalties — though his suitors were pretty much limited to the AL.
Encarnacion is a lifetime .263 hitter with an .851 OPS who hits both lefties and righties consistently. His bat hasn’t slowed with age, and he’s made consistent hard contact since leaving Toronto. But he’s not the same intimidating slugger he was with the Blue Jays. His walk rates have been down, and his strikeout percentage has shown a slight uptick from 2017.
Encarnacion doesn’t provide much, if any, versatility. He played in 103 total games at first base over the past three years and will likely be relegated to just a designated hitter going forward.
At this point in his career, his power will be pretty much be relied upon exclusively. He’s obviously proven to still be capable of hitting the ball out of the park. And a 39-year-old Nelson Cruz showed that type of player can still help teams win.
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