Blue Jays' Edwin Encarnacion: Baseball's quietest superstar

Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion has quietly become a superstar in MLB. (AFP)

Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion has quietly become a superstar in MLB. (AFP)

Steve Simmons, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:04 AM ET

TORONTO - Alex Anthopoulos doesn’t hide from the truth: He didn’t care much for Edwin Encarnacion when his name was being kicked around in trade talks for Scott Rolen.

“First prize in the deal was Zach Stewart,” said Anthopoulos. Stewart never did win a game pitching for the Blue Jays.

“Second prize was Josh Roenicke.” He did pitch 36 innings for the Jays, all in relief.

“Encarnacion was the add-on,” said Anthopoulos. “We (J.P. Ricciardi was the general manager) didn’t really want him. The way the deal came down money wise, we had no choice, we had to take him.”

This is how you become the quietest superstar in baseball. You get drafted 274th by Texas and traded away by the Rangers before you get to double-A. Later, you get thrown into a deal in which the buyer doesn’t want you.

In Toronto you play third base rather badly but aren’t interested in playing first. You get sent to the minors. Anybody could have claimed you. Nobody did. Over time, you become arbitration eligible but Anthopoulos doesn’t want that, either. He had no intention of paying arbitration numbers. And meanwhile, management whispers to itself that Encarnacion just might be a little overweight and maybe, just maybe, a little bit lazy.

So you come to a handshake agreement of sorts, you, your agent and Anthopoulos. The Jays will waive you right at the end of the season rather than wait so at least you get that arbitration possibility elsewhere. And if that doesn’t work out you can come back to Toronto. Just as long as you don’t play third base anymore. Nobody wanted to see that.

The Jays waive him. Oakland claims him. The Moneyball A’s liked Encarnacion more than they liked the money he was asking for. They wanted nothing to do with arbitration, made him a lowball offer, which he turned down. The A’s waived him.

It came down to two teams bidding for Encarnacion. Toronto or Tampa. Toronto that sent him down, waived him, asked him to changed positions, had meandering faith in him.


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