The Toronto Blue Jays designated third baseman Edwin Encarnacion for assignment, a day after he was optioned to Triple-A.
The optioning was a surprise, so the designation comes as a shock. The move opens up Encarnacion to waivers, and they may lose him to another team. The 27-year-old was hitting a scant .200 on the year but he had nine home runs in 120 at-bats to his name, good for a .467 slugging percentage. His batting average has tumbled from a career-high .289 set with Cincinnati in 2007.
The move will open up a 40-man roster spot for Toronto.
It's surprising the Jays opted to move on from Encarnacion, who is still owed roughly $2.7 million through the remainder of the year and is arbitration eligible following the season. However, Ed-E may remain with the club as GM Alex Anthopoulous believes he will clear waivers.
"With respect to the performance and the salary of the player, I would say it's unlikely [Encarnacion gets claimed on waivers]," Anthopoulous told MLB.com's Jordan Bastain.
Teams that may decide to take a flier on Encarnacion include the Angels, who are suddenly thin in the infield and on the hunt for offense, and the Twins, who have been seeking a third baseman all year. The negative about Encarnacion, however, is that he is a liability at third base. He's made seven errors on the year for a .941 fielding percentage. His UZR/150 is -2.6, 17th out of 31 third baseman with at least 200 innings at the position on the year.
Encarnacion's absence will open up more time at third for Jose Bautista, who also spends time in right field. John McDonald, who hit an emotional home run on Sunday, will also benefit.
Encarnacion was acquired from the Reds last July along with relievers Josh Roenicke and Zach Stewart for Scott Rolen.
-- Evan Brunell
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