Red Sox need to sign Edwin Encarnacion, so saith David Ortiz

Jul 16, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (10) hits a home in the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at the Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 16, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (10) hits a home in the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at the Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports /

The Red Sox will need a DH and David Ortiz proposed the perfect fit for the team – Edwin Encarnacion.

The Red Sox will most certainly sign Edwin Encarnacion in the off-season as the replacement for David Ortiz.

Ortiz has certainly been rather vocal about his recruitment in regards to the Toronto slugger and MLB is questioning the legalities of tampering with Ortiz’s public pronouncements. Maybe they can hire Roger Goodell’s battalion of lawyer’s to examine the issue. Hopefully the results will be better than Kevin Durant.

There are two reasons why the Jays will not have a happy face when the free agent signing season opens up and the first is the personal linguistic hades that his signing will place me in. I have a “thing” about baseball names and some seen as complicated as theoretical physics to me. Trying to pronounce “linoleum” does the same. That last name will take time.

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When the Red Sox brought in Jarrod Saltalamacchia I was in knots. Thank goodness he is gone and ditto for A.J. Pierzynski and Rubby De La Rosa. Ryan Lavarnway was easy to master as was Xander Bogaerts, but Nomar Garciaparra can still give me keystroke jitter. Guarantee the Red Sox will get “Big E” just to torment me.

The other reason is obvious and one does not need to be any type of baseball savant to figure it out – they need him. Oh, do they need him. Ortiz will limp into retirement and the Red Sox will have a power void, or as they say in political terms, a power vacuum. What better way to fill the void than the premier power of Encarnacion?

The big wheel of Red Sox misfortune makes Encarnacion the likely replacement for Papi – even his teammate Jose Bautista should be a secondary choice. Boston was placed into the DH bind by bad karma, starting with Pablo Sandoval, who clearly demonstrated he can’t hit, field or diet. Other options are good, but not that good.

Hanley Ramirez and Travis Shaw are very similar in the hitting department, but the long ball – especially for Ramirez – has not been present. Another option is hot prospect Sam Travis, who went to the DL and essentially lost a season. So to get the monster bat it is back to Encarnacion.

This will cost, as Encarnacion has been – at least in baseball money – somewhat underpaid and now is catch-up time. At 34-years-old next season, the next contract may be the last significant contract kiss for Encarnacion and someone will pay and the Red Sox will be Mr. Somebody.

Expect a five-year offer with Ortiz like money and no worries for Encarnacion about the diminishing Canadian Loonie versus the American dollar. The worry is – as always – another bloated contract for a fading slugger. So far in 2016 there is certainly no fade, regression or anything else.

You want some possible negatives, maybe a career .266 average will do or a BABIP of .273? I’ll take that when you see a career .231 ISO, K% of 16.0, wOBA of .379, wRC+ of 137 and the all-inclusive WAR of 2.0. The only bump this season is an increase of strikeout rate to 19.7 percent. Among designated hitters, Encarnacion is among the very best – certainly no Ortiz or Mark Trumbo (this season) – but a more than respectable RBI machine who is leading the league.

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Where I like to see Encarnacion is at Fenway Park, which seems to be his special playground. Seems every time I see him in Boston a ball is flying off to New Hampshire thanks to Encarnacion. In 47 games his slash is .296/.373/.547 with 14 home runs and 41 RBI.

Some would say the other Toronto option is Bautista.

Bautista – far easier name to master – certainly loves Fenway, with 23 home runs and 52 RBI in 63 games while hitting .274. Bautista is still a reasonable defensive outfielder, but not even close to Mookie Betts or Jackie Bradley. As for Encarnacion, he still takes some turns at first base and that option is certainly present, so if defense and its potential need is part of the signing equation I’ll take Encarnacion. Joey Bats also has a bit more years on him and any player past 30-years-old is starting to get into dog years territory.

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I’ve certainly put out my “Man Love” for our future DH, but will Boston do it? The Red Sox need a hole filled and will do it. The money is there and the player is there and never overlook the opportunity to strip an opponent of a valuable bat. Enjoy his last 90 games Jays fans.

Sources: Fangraphs/baseball-reference