The Chicago White Sox didn’t get the Edwin Encarnacion that they expected.
Last offseason, it was very exciting when the Chicago White Sox signed Edwin Encarnacion. It was a two year deal with a club option for the second year. People were very excited because the White Sox were adding someone who had been one of the best home run bitters over the past decade. It also showed that the White Sox were committed to taking the next step as an organization. The club was clearly going into 2020 with the intention to win more.
Unfortunately, it was a signing that didn’t really go the way of the White Sox. He wasn’t the Encarnacion that we have come to know during the earlier parts of his career. His -0.5 WAR shows that the 60 game season wasn’t that great for him. He only slashed .157/.250/.377 and had an OPS of .627. The only positive of his season was the fact that he hit 10 home runs which is a decent total for a 60 game year. He also only played in 44 of the games which makes the 10 home runs look even better.
The problem for him is that if you are a designated hitter, you need to be able to do more than hit a few home runs. Hitting .157 isn’t going to get it done. The White Sox were better off having one of James McCann or Yasmani Grandal, whoever wasn’t catching that day, assume the role of the designated hitter. It wasn’t fun to watch because Encarnacion was one of those players who were fun to root for throughout his career.
Even though it was a bad season for him it will be cool to look back at his time with the White Sox in a few years, especially if they ever win the World Series. Although it didn’t work out well for them, he represents the offseason that they felt they can add a big bat and take this thing to the next level. The fact that they did take it to the next level without his production tells a lot about where this team is headed.
Final Grade: F
It isn’t fun giving out failing grades but we’d be lying to ourselves if we gave Encarnacion anything better for 2020. It was a failed experiment for Rick Hahn amongst a bunch of triumphs. It wasn’t the worst thing to ever happen for the White Sox but it would be interesting to know how they’d have done if they didn’t sign him.
Well, the White Sox did not pick up that club option for 2021. He isn’t going to be with the White Sox anymore and we don’t know what his next career move is yet. He is going to be 38 years old when the next season resumes so we don’t know how much he has left in the tank. He may retire or he may take another short term contract somewhere else. Wherever he goes, we wish him success because he was certainly a fun player to watch throughout his career.