Cleveland Indians reportedly sign Edwin Encarnacion

The Cleveland Indians have reportedly signed Edwin Encarnacion to a three-year deal, starting the push toward the 2017 World Series.

Make it official, Edwin Encarnacion is heading to Cleveland, according to Jeff Passan.

The $65 million guaranteed makes this the largest contract in team history, ending the painful groans emitting from fans who like to call out the Dolans for being cheap.

While the deal is uncharacteristic for this franchise, it is a clear sign that this team is committed to competing for a World Series title for the next few seasons. Adding Encarnacion gives the Indians a legitimate star in the lineup, and one who can get on base often and have discipline at the plate. 2015 was only his second season with over 100 strikeouts.

He finished 2016 with 42 home runs and a slash line of .263/.357/.529, along with 127 RBI and 34 doubles.

This deal likely means Mike Napoli will be headed elsewhere in 2017, ending his Indians career after just one season. While Napoli did struggle in the postseason, he had a career year for the Tribe and gave fans plenty to party about in 2016.

But this signing takes the Indians to a whole new level. It has been a long time since the Indians gave an established star a multi-year deal. It just shows fans that this team is no longer content with a playoff appearance every few years. A championship was within reach this year, and the goal is to do whatever it takes to not only get back to the World Series, but to win it all.

It is an early Christmas gift, and one that should have fans excited during a time when all we want is baseball.

Signing Encarnacion means the Indians will be adding him and hopefully Michael Brantley to a lineup that was one of the best in baseball a year ago, which means fans could be in for another era of Indians baseball when all nine starters are a threat to opposing pitchers.

It is all hype and speculation now, but adding Encarnacion helps establish the Indians as World Series contenders in 2017, while ushering in a new era of Tribe baseball. What a perfect early Christmas gift.

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