White Sox strike up Christmas Day deal for free agent Edwin Encarnacion, per reports
The White Sox continue to make moves this offseason
The White Sox kept their busy winter going on Christmas Day, striking up a deal for veteran free-agent outfielder Edwin Encarnacion. The two sides reached an agreement on a one-year deal worth $12 million, which includes a $12 million club option for 2021, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Dominican reporter Yancen Pujols first reported the agreement.
Encarnacion, who turns 37 next month, was Jose Abreu. :this offseason. He'll likely serve as a designated hitter and backup first baseman behind
Though he didn't look great in the postseason, he finished the regular season having hit .244/.344/.531 with 34 home runs. One potential red flag: he was underneath the ball far more often in 2019 than usual, resulting in a sky-high launch angle (over 22 degrees) and pop-up rate. Could that be a sign of decaying barrel control? Encarnacion will turn 37 in January, meaning he'll arrive at camp with "Attrition Risk" written on his forehead until he can prove otherwise.
For his career, Encarnacion owns an OPS+ of 125 across parts of 15 major-league seasons. His 414 career home runs rank 52nd on the all-time list. Last season, White Sox designated hitters combined to bat a meager .205/.286/.356 with 17 home runs in 550 at-bats, so even if Encarnacion endures some decline he should still constitute a hefty upgrade over that 2019 baseline.
It has been an active winter for the South Siders, who are primed to get back to postseason for the first time since 2008 when they lost in the ALDS. Here's a look at their additions:
- 1B Jose Abreu: Signed three-year extension.
- C Yasmani Grandal: Signed four-year, $73 million deal
- RF Nomar Mazara: Acquired via trade with Rangers (in exchange for CF Steele Walker)
- LHP Gio Gonzalez: Signed one-year, $5 million deal
- LHP Dallas Keuchel: Signed three-year, $55 million deal
The White Sox are trying to emerge from a lengthy rebuild and return to competitive relevance after seven straight losing seasons. In 2019, the Sox finished 17 games below .500. However, their impressive base of young talent in tandem with these targeted free agent additions (and the winnable nature of the AL Central) mean they could take a leap forward in 2020.
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