It took Billy Beane to get things moving.
Two familiar faces could rejoin the Texas Rangers for 2017, one a perennial victor and crowd favorite and another who was one of the game's best players earlier this decade before leaving for a division foe. "It was a hard decision".
While some might argue that the signing of Encarnacion was too expensive for the Indians, the signing will pay off big time for the team especially considering that they generated $15 million dollars in revenue during the postseason a year ago.
Despite the fit from a baseball standpoint, signing a brand-name slugger to a deal worth $20 million a year is still a gamble for a team like the Indians.
Color me a bit skeptical that the A's offer was literally that much bigger than the Indians' deal, but the idea that Encarnacion turned down a bigger deal from Oakland than he accepted from the Indians is not hard to believe.
Swisher had been extraordinarily consistent as a ballplayer as he hit.258/.365/.471 (120 OPS+) over the previous seven seasons, while never playing in fewer than 148 games and hitting less than 120 OPS+ only once.
Encarnacion, 33, was viewed by many as the top big hitter on the free agent market. But several factors might have helped to suppress his value to potential suitors.
Napoli, 35, would give the Rangers a needed option at first base and/or designated hitter.
Encarnacion is a sizable upgrade from Mike Napoli, who is a free agent. A three time All-Star (Swisher was just once), received MVP votes four times (Swisher never did), and a SLG% over.500 is his norm (Swish cracked that line with a.511 in 2010).
The Tribe will lose their first-round draft pick, since Encarnacion rejected the Blue Jays' qualifying offer of one year, $17.2 million.
Early on in the offseason, it seemed nearly inevitable that Napoli would wind up with the Indians in 2017, as they expressed a heavy interest in re-signing the veteran. "We know where we would like to get'".
The Indians opened their checkbook for Encarnacion, and they'll look to reap the spoils of that signing.
Encarnacion played in 160 games in 2016 and 146 the year before. If one team suddenly puts a five-year deal on the table, it might land Encarnacion nearly immediately.
Paul Kinzer told TSN.ca he was with family at a Six Flags amusement park on Thursday night when he reached the deal with Cleveland. This was tough for him.