When Jerry Howarth and Alan Ashby make a point about the Blue Jays, it almost always makes sense. Last night though, sometime after Edwin (E5) Encarnacion threw the game away, the pair had a discussion about E5 and his bat that left me scratching my head.
I’m not going to go back and transcribe the conversation, but they basically said E5 should be considered for Toronto’s DH role next year.
I guess from a certain standpoint, I can understand it. E5’s defence is horrid, so you don’t want him in the field every day (unless your name is Cito) and his bat definitely has some potential, so why not give him a shot at letting the bat develop?
To me, the answer is simple: Money.
Encarnacion is arbitration-eligible this year. He’s taking home $4.75 million in 2010. The absolute minimum that a player can get out of arbitration is 80% of their current salary, so the best case scenario for the Jays in an arbitration hearing would see them pay $3.8 million to take a chance on E5’s bat in 2011.
That’s a pretty expensive gamble, especially on a guy who’s currently rocking an OPS of .768.
I think E5 could be a valuable piece as a bench player. His defence wouldn’t hurt the team on a daily basis and his bat coming around wouldn’t be a daily gamble. But $3.8 million is awfully expensive for a bench player, and I can’t see E5’s agent allowing him to agree to a significant pay cut outside of arbitration.