For the second straight year, Edwin Encarnacion had a stretch in which he was hitting home runs like crazy:
- In 2014, he hit 16 home runs in a 23-game burst from May 6 to 29.
- In 2015, he hit 11 home runs in a 22-game burst from August 5 to 30, including seven in seven games between August 23 and 30.
It must be a wonderful feeling to go up there and know that you’re going to hit a baseball very hard and that there isn’t anything the opposition pitcher can do about it.
As with Jose Bautista, the Jays face a difficult decision after 2016 with Encarnacion: overpay him through his decline years, or watch him hit home runs for another team. He is now 33, and is showing signs of age already, even if they’re not obviously apparent: in the years from 2011 to 2013, he stole 28 bases and was caught only six times, but was only 3-for-5 in steals this year. When he came up, he was a third baseman, if not a particularly good one; now, he is best used as a designated hitter.
Neither option – keep him, or let him go – is a really good one. The only good option is for Encarnacion to remain young forever, and he doesn’t get to do that.