The Cleveland Indians made a huge statement on Thursday night, adding big time firepower to their World Series-calibur lineup in the form of Edwin Encarnacion. The DH/1B signed with the Tribe for a reported 3 years and $60 million, though the team has not confirmed yet.
The 33 year old Dominican slugger had been a member of the Toronto Blue Jays since 2009, appearing in three All-Star games and helping the Jays to consecutive American League Championship Series appearances in 2015 and 2016. He comes off a 2016 that saw him bat .263 with 42 homers and 127 RBI, that last of which gave him a share of the AL lead with David Ortiz. Encarnacion is a .266 career hitter with 310 HR and 942 RBI.
Adding Encarnacion to a lineup that already includes Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley, Rajai Davis, Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez and Mike Napoli is a brilliant move by Cleveland. If the team had one more big bat in their lineup last season, the Tribe may very well have won the Fall Classic. Encarnacion will alleviate the home run pressure on Napoli and Carlos Santana and will give young guns like Ramirez and Lindor even more room to grow.
Of course, the opposite end of the spectrum of possibilities could occur too. Encarnacion is 33 and he had a lot of protection in Toronto in guys like Jose Bautista and Josh Donaldson. Cleveland is small-ball lineup not known for power, so there is also a chance he could struggle. But, this is unlikely. Encarnacion probably won’t lead the AL in RBI again this year, but there’s not much reason to believe he won’t bolster the Indians.
In other news, rumors are swarming that a blockbuster three team trade is in the works. If it proves true, Pittsburgh Pirates star CF Andrew McCutchen will be on his way to the Bronx. 12up.com is reporting that the Yankees, Pirates and White Sox are working on an enormous deal that would work something like this:
If this trade comes to fruition, it would be one of the biggest blockbusters in MLB history. Despite 2016 being the worst season of his career, Andrew McCutchen is one of the best in the game and the Yankees would add a huge bat to their lineup. Jose Quintana broke out last season and is a reliable lefty starter that can boost the Bucs. And, adding Tyler Glasnow would even further cement the White Sox’ dominant offseason. Don’t forget the South Siders added Yoan Moncada and Lucas Giolito earlier this month.
However, this is not the smartest move on Pittsburgh’s behalf if the trade does go through. As previously mentioned, Andrew McCutchen seemingly fell off the face of the Earth in 2016 as he batted just .256 with only 79 RBI. Even though this was an awful season by his lofty standards, trading McCutchen right now is not a smart move. After 2016, McCutchen’s trade value is at an all-time low. Why, if you are the Pirates, would you ship off your franchise player now? The 30-year-old is too good a player to struggle the way he did and everyone knows he will bounce back in 2017. The Pirates could get far more for him than just Quintana if they give him a season to return to form. If, for example, ‘Cutch bats .315 in 2017, there’s not a lot you couldn’t ask for him because everyone knows he is pretty close to the complete package. If the move happens, Pittsburgh will be getting rid of its golden goose for only half the value.
Again, this move could never happen, we have to wait and see. But, if it does, we all know the impact it will have.
Royals Land Outfielder Melky Cabrera In Trade
The Kansas City Royals just bolstered their outfield.
The Chicago White Sox traded outfielder Melky Cabrera to Kansas City on Sunday for two prospects and cash considerations.
Cabrera is making $15 million this season and is scheduled to become a free agent after this season.
Chicago received right-hander A.J. Puckett and left-hander Andre Davis from Kansas City. Davis is the 13th-ranked player in the Royals’ farm system and Puckett is ranked 22nd, according to MLB.com.
This season Cabrera is batting .295 with 13 home runs and 56 RBIs in 98 games for Chicago.
Davis, 23, is 5-4 with a 4.83 ERA in 18 starts for Lexington, the Royals’ Class A team.
Puckett, 22, is 9-7 with a 3.90 ERA in 20 starts for Wilmington, the Royals’ advanced Class A team.
Cabrera, 32, returns to Kansas City, where he played in 2011.
Rangers’ Yu Darvish No-Trade List Revealed
As the trade deadline approaches, speculation regarding the availability of Texas Rangers’ ace Yu Darvish, 30, has continued to increase.
While it is still 100% unclear whether the Rangers are making their prized ace available ahead of the trade deadline, most signs indicate that the Rangers will shop their front line starter.
Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthall released a reported list of 10 teams that Darvish has listed on his no-trade list. Those teams include the Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers, Oakland Athletics, Colorado Rockies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays.
Earlier this week ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported that Rangers general manager Jon Daniels has called teams regarding Darvish and that he is ready to move him for the “right deal.”
Teams that immediately come to mind include the New York Yankees who have been linked to Oakland starter Sonny Gray. The Yankees may prefer Darvish over Gray who has durability concerns.
Darvish is also linked to the Los Angeles Dodgers and could slide behind Clayton Kershaw in the rotation.
Darvish is a 4-time All-Star with a career ERA of 3.32.
For now, the baseball world and a handful of teams are waiting on the Rangers to decide if they will be making Darvish available.
If they do, expect a hectic flurry of action.
Analyzing The White Sox Impressive Rebuild
You have to give the front office of the Chicago White Sox credit. GM Rick Hahn and PBO Kenny Williams are pulling out all the stops with a number of huge trades to make the White Sox a force once again, something that hasn’t been the case for some time.
Although this is coming at the sake of the team’s present, South Side baseball fans should be quite pleased with the team’s commitment to being a contender again.
Every deal has bolstered the White Sox farm system with a number of big name youngsters. It all started with a bang back in December.
- 12/6/16- Chicago sends LHP Chris Sale to Boston in exchange for no. 1 prospect 2B Yoan Moncada, no. 11 prospect RHP Michael Kopech and others.
This trade took the MLB by storm. Though Sale had been a trade rumor for months by this point, the deal was still a shock because of the magnitude. Not a lot of people foresaw the lefty going to one of baseball’s biggest markets in exchange for two of the best prospects in the game.
Chicago said goodbye to its longtime ace, but gained two possible franchise cornerstones in return, five-tool infielder Yoan Moncada and flamethrower Michael Kopech. But that wasn’t the end of it. A day later, even more gas was poured on the hot stove.
- 12/7/16- Chicago sends OF Adam Eaton to Washington in exchange for no. 7 pitching prospect Lucas Giolito and no. 36 prospect RHP Reynaldo Lopez.
Although this move was a head-scratcher on the Nationals’ behalf, it was gold for the ChiSox. Lucas Giolito’s value on the Pipeline has waned a bit recently, but no team will look a 23-year-old who sits at 95 MPH in the mouth.
Lopez, also 23, possesses a wicked curve to go with his heater. All this for the price of a light-hitting outfielder. I’m sorry Washington, but come on, what were you thinking?
That was it for the time being and it looked as if the team may have been done. But Hahn has picked it up again in the last week and a half.
- 7/13/17- Chicago sends LHP Jose Quintana to Chicago Cubs in exchange for no. 8 prospect OF Eloy Jimenez, no. 63 prospect RHP Dylan Cease and others.
After Chris Sale packed his bags for Boston, the Pale Hose’s next best pitcher was fellow lefty Jose Quintana, fresh off an All-Star 2016 season. Seeing more bait, the team sent their ace to the other side of the Crosstown Classic, the Cubs.
In return they received 20-year-old Eloy Jimenez, the 2013 international pool’s biggest name. While not a power hitter, the Dominican has great bat speed and has tore up Single A+ this year. Dylan Cease falls lower on the Pipleline, but sits anywhere from 94-98 MPH despite Tommy John surgery. Who wouldn’t love that in their farm?
Then, just Tuesday night, another blockbuster.
- 7/17/17- Chicago sends 3B Todd Frazier, RHP David Robertson and RHP Tommy Kanhle to the New York Yankees in exchange for no. 30 prospect OF Blake Rutherford, RHP Tyler Clippard and others.
Adding 20-year-old Blake Rutherford to the farm gives the ChiSox another potent young bat. A lefty, Rutherford has made all the teams that overlooked him in the first round of the 2016 Draft look stupid. His smooth swing and smart eye make him an outfielder than can hit for both average and power. He will fit very nicely with Moncada and Jimenez.
It seems that the White Sox may be done after this move. The only players remaining on their roster that would be appealing to suitors are Jose Abreu and 2017 All-Star Avisial Garcia. There are always a couple players that are untouchable during a rebuild to keep some kind of foundation in place. With no rumors around either player, it appears that they are staying.
With all these blockbusters designed for the future, it’s safe to say the Pale Hose won’t be contending any time soon. But, when all the players they got in return are ready for the big leagues, the Chicago White Sox are going to be one scary team.
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