CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians slugger Edwin Encarnacion recognizes that he has been blessed to make a living playing baseball, and he wants to share that success with others less fortunate, both in his new town and back home in the Dominican Republic.
Encarnacion signed a three-year, $65 million contract with the Indians earlier this week, and as part of his signing, he will make six-figure donations to Cleveland and Dominican Republic-based organizations each season over the life of the deal.
“I believe that when God blesses you with something that you should pass along the blessings to other people,” Encarnacion said through Indians translator Anna Bolton. “Because of the blessings I’ve received from God, I want to share that with people who need it.”
Encarnacion’s three-year deal could become a four-year contract if the Indians exercise a club option for the 2020 season.
In 12 years at the Major League level, Encarnacion has hit .266 with 1,439 hits over 5,409 at-bats in 1,513 career games. Of those 1,439 hits, 629 went for extra bases, including 311 doubles and 310 home runs. Also, Encarnacion has driven in 942 runs, scored another 829 and drawn 662 walks.
Encarnacion spent the last eight years of his Major League career with the Blue Jays. He made his Major League debut with the Cincinnati Reds in 2005, and spent four full seasons with them before being traded to the Blue Jays in 2009.
During his final year with the Blue Jays, Encarnacion hit .263 (158 for 601) with 34 doubles, 42 home runs and 127 runs batted in over 160 games. He set career highs with the 158 hits, 99 runs scored, 76 extra-base hits, 127 RBI and 318 total bases. The 42 round-trippers matched his single-season career best.
“He’s a perfect fit for our team,” Indians president Chris Antonetti said. “He’s established himself as one of the most productive offensive players in baseball over the last five years. He’s been remarkably consistent, and we feel he can impact our team both with his power and the quality of his at-bats.”
By signing Encarnacion to the deal, the Indians ended their pursuit of free-agent infielder/designated hitter Mike Napoli. But when Encarnacion made the decision to support causes close to his heart within the contract, the Indians realized just how special of a player they added to the team.
“Our clubhouse culture is something that’s extraordinarily important to us,” Antonetti said. “Edwin, throughout his time as a player, has had universal respect from his peers, from everyone throughout the league for how he goes about his business.
“He’s committed to giving back to the community that surrounds him. He’s been very active in his work in the community in the Dominican Republic, and has actually made a considerable financial commitment with this contract to help those in the city of Cleveland, and also, back home in the D.R.”