Boston Red Sox trade target: Edwin Encarnacion


At age 29, Edwin Encarnacion “got it” and became a devastating right-handed power bat.

In his last three seasons, Encarnacion has bagged 42, 36, and 34 home runs. In six years in Toronto, Encarnacion has slashed .267/.351/.514 and demonstrates a clear ability to keep his K’s under 100 and his walks in a range that is reflected in his OBP. Encarnacion has enjoyed special delight at Fenway Park with 10/27/.284 in 31 games. Every series seems to have a titanic shot heading well over The Green Monster.

Through the years certain right-haned bats from the opposition have had that appeal for me – Joe Carter, Roy Sievers, Rocky Colavito, Paul Konerko, Harmon Killebrew and Frank Thomas. Not one made it to Boston in a Red Sox uni.

Occasionally the Red Sox will have a foray into free agency or the trade markets and pick up a Manny Ramirez, Tony Armas, or for a short time, Jason Bay. The signature of all was the ability to pound it out at Fenway. And that is just the short list.

Encarnacion generally resides at first base and there is no Gold Glove in his future. The metrics have those nasty negative signs before them, so this is a bat and not a glove or a combination of the two. Encarnacion is, to be polite, passable defensively.

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Encarnacion has a team friendly $10M for both 2015 and 2016 with the last year being a team option. Once Encarnacion hits free agency it could be the one last big kiss in the $100M range if his power numbers hold up.

What would it take to get Encarnacion?

First off it would be Mike Napoli. Napoli’s defensive skills were one reason the Red Sox were on top of the AL defensive leader board at first. The Blue Jays were last. Napoli, however, is no Encarnacion with the bat – good, mind you, but not the same long ball machine as EE. Napoli would also provide some combination of DH/1B stability if Adam Lind remains with the Jays. Something would certainly have to be added to even remotely tempt the Jays since Napoli is a one and done.

Pitching is always at a premium and the Red Sox have top of the line prospects in Henry Owens and Brian Johnson. Would a choice of one be tempting enough? In place of pitching, would a Blake Swihart make the deal? The Jays have former Cape Cod League MVP Max Pentecost and defensive talent A.J. Jimenez in the wings. Dioner Navarro has a year left and is coming off a fine 2014. Swihart is a premium prospect and the Jays smart move would be to ask for both a pitcher and Swihart. The smart move for Boston would be, if that level of prospect were to be included, a contract extension in place.

The Jays could use some additional support in the outfield and Daniel Nava could be added to any one prospect package. Nava can play the outfield and first. Nava saved his 2014 season, getting back on track from 2013 during the last half of 2014.

What the Jays would require would certainly be interesting. The real consideration is Encarnacion’s potential of leaving for the free agent route in two seasons and that would change the dynamics. That certainly has to factor in. The Jays may be far more interested in several top of the line prospects rather than a Napoli and Nava.

If Boston is going the prospect route, then the real target would be Giancarlo Stanton.