Blog Entry

Blue Jays bring Encarnacion back, dump Rauch

Posted on: October 31, 2011 10:02 pm
Edited on: October 31, 2011 10:03 pm

By Evan Brunell

The Blue Jays have declined their club option on reliever Jon Rauch, but will bring DH Edwin Encarnacion back.

Rauch was one of several who tried to close games out for the Jays, a team that had trouble finding that stopper. Rauch wasn't quite the man, despite notching 11 saves. The righty allowed 11 homers after giving up just three in 2010, finishing the season out with a 4.85 ERA in 52 innings. His season was cut short by knee surgery in September, but pitched well enough to qualify as a Type B free agent. This may have been what led to declining the $3.75 million option on Rauch, which is a reasonable price. The Jays are one team that tries to collect as many draft picks as possible, and with Rauch fetching back a compensatory pick should (once) he signs elsewhere, it likely made more sense to Toronto to grab a different unspectacular middle reliever in order to perhaps draft the next great Blue Jay.

Encarnacion's return, meanwhile, jams up first base and DH, which could complicate any chance of getting any slugger who plays one of these positions. But bringing Encarnacion back for $3.5 million was a no-brainer. It wasn't before June 5, when the righty woke up with a .243/.275/.342 line, but netted three hits that night and played the rest of 2011 at a .286/.359/.505 clip, hammering 16 homers in 370 plate appearances. The Jays seem to have finally given up on Encarnacion at third, so he's limited to first and DH, although the club could stick him in left field a few times next season. Toronto has Adam Lind, Travis Snider and Eric Thames all vying for at-bats in varying degrees between first, left and DH, so Encarnacion will have to fight for playing time barring a trade.

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Since: Nov 1, 2011
Posted on: November 1, 2011 12:51 pm
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Since: Nov 7, 2010
Posted on: November 1, 2011 3:48 am

Blue Jays bring Encarnacion back, dump Rauch

Toronto has been a very good,underestimated team for years...just unlucky to play in that division...and they have Lawrie!!.and a very talented farm  at any levels

Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: November 1, 2011 12:01 am

Blue Jays bring Encarnacion back, dump Rauch

 Well said, I agree with pretty much every part of your post. Nice to see Toronto actually reloading, they have been stuck in neutral for a few seasons. If they grabbed a decent starter and a big time hitter, I think the time  might be right to make a run. The question is: Will Rogers be willing to invest the extra dough on salary to allow them to compete in the AL East? Tampa doesn well, but let's not forget they cultivated their team by being a doormat for a decade. Toronto has always fielded a pretty good line-up. A line-up that probably would have made the play-offs in a few other divisions, but not the AL East. Hopefully they have turned the corner. AA is starting to look like a genius.. I'm holding my breath.

Since: May 8, 2007
Posted on: October 31, 2011 11:46 pm

Blue Jays bring Encarnacion back, dump Rauch

Rauch simply wasn't worth the contract he was getting, even if it was for 3.75 mil. He didn't perform very well at all in Toronto, and it's likely best for both parties if he got a fresh start somewhere else. He couldn't keep the ball down last season, and doesn't throw with much heat at all for a man of his size, so that was a frustrating combination to watch. 

As for Encarnacion, it truly was a no-brainer to pick up his option at 3.5 mil. He isn't the stud DH that the Jays may still end up with, but he's certainly worth that contract. My guess is the Jays will go in 2012 with a Lind and Encarnacion combination at 1B/DH, but if the decide to add Ortiz, Fielder, or even take a run at Pujols, that doesn't necessarily mean Encarnacion is gone. They worked EE out in LF a bit last year, so perhaps they have their eye on him as a utility type, but at worst he's trade bait to package with younger arms to chase a front line starter. If the Jays were to sign either David Ortiz, or Prince Fielder (the ladder I think is highly unlikely), it's not out of the realm of possibility they shop Lind instead to balance the lineup. With an added left handed bat, that would join Rasmus, Lind, Snider/Thames, and Kelly Johnson (maybe). 

Bottom line is, whether the Jays have EE in their plans going forward or not, picking up that contract was a smart decision, and passing on Rauch was also a well-advised move. AA continues to impress me, and I believe in the direction this team is headed. It should be an interesting off-season. 

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