The Cleveland Indians made a huge splash in the free agency pool, signing former Toronto Blue Jays slugger, Edwin Encarnacion. The Tribe were already viewed as one of top teams in the American League but their need for a big bat in the middle of their lineup was apparent throughout their trip to the World Series. Mike Napoli provided almost all of the Indians power but with his contract expiring this offseason, the need for a bat was even more dire. Losing Napoli left a void at first base, making Encarnacion the most logical addition for the Indians.
Encarncian signed a team friendly deal worth $60 million over three years after denying a 4 year $80 million contract from the Toronto Blue Jays. These are astonishing numbers for one of the best power-hitters in the MLB. Encarnacion hit a mediocre .263 in 2016 but made his mark smacking 42 homeruns and knocking in a career high 127 RBIs.
The Indians also have one of the deepest pitching rotations in the entire MLB. Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Danny Salazar rival the pitching rotation of the Boston Red Sox. Not to mention, Josh Tomlin and Trevor Bauer are rounding out the rotation. Both Tomlin and Bauer had fantastic playoff performances, and if they are able to carry that momentum into the 2017 season then the sky is the limit for the Tribe.
The Indians depth doesn’t stop there. Andrew Miller and Cody Allen make up one of the strongest bullpens that anchor one of the game’s greatest rotations. The Indians are talented in all facets of the game. With the addition of Encarnacion, the Indians have made a strong case to be the favorites coming out of the American League. But can they take down everybody’s front runner, the Boston Red Sox?
This is a complete possibility. The Indians are stacked from top to bottom. Encarnacion adds a much needed right handed bat which will be a major issue for the Red Sox to handle. The Sox rotation is lefty dominant, having David Price, Chris Sale, Drew Pomeranz, and Eduardo Rodriguez all toeing the rubber from the left side. The match ups throughout the Indians lineup favor them greatly.
This matchup should be something to keep an eye on throughout the entirety of the season. The Red Sox and Indians are the top runners to come out of the American League. Over the past few years, Encarnacion has tormented the Red Sox and the addition of his bat will surely come back and haunt them so more. With the addition of Encarnacion, the Indians have become a team posed to make a deep run into the Playoffs.