Could Chris Colabello Replace Edwin Encarnacion in 2016?

By Ryan Mueller
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Alex Anthopoulos has done a great job collecting a group of sluggers that are on pace to break many offensive records and should remain intact for 2016, but should they?

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The Blue Jays GM used a boat load of prospects to acquire the talent required to propel the Jays into, what could be the clubs first playoff appearance in over 20 years. Being a minor league fanatic, I was devastated to see all those talented left-handed pitchers being shipped out; however, I wouldn’t change a thing. You have to give value to get value, and prospects are never a sure thing.

Speaking of not being a sure thing, Chris Colabello was scooped off the scrap heap by AA and placed on the Buffalo Bisons roster as depth piece. He was not a sure thing, but he has been nothing short of fantastic for the Jays in 2015. He’s played the outfield, he’s manned 1st base and DH’ed, all the while knocking the cover off the ball.

This isn’t the first time he’s done this in the major leagues. As a member of the 2014 Minnesota Twins, Chris hit .295 with 3 home runs and 27 RBI in April/May before suffering a thumb injury. The story goes that, Colabello tried to play through the injury instead of going on the disabled list.

At 31-years-old a healthy Colabello has shown the ability to become a regular contributor in a potent line up hitting .333 against RHP and .311 against LHP. In 80 games, he has 13 home runs and 49 RBI. The problem with Colabello is that he really doesn’t have a position on this team.

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He is a below average defender in the OF. He is a bit better at 1st, making DH the ideal spot for him. This brings me to my point: should the AA look to move Edwin Encarnacion in the off-season?

CC is under club control next year, followed by 3 years of arbitration….and at a low-cost, as he currently make the league minimum of $421,530 USD. EE has one more year at $10M and stands to get a substantial raise in 2017.

By trading EE in the offseason, the Jays could look to replenish the farm or look for pitching help for next year. Marco Estrada, Mark Buehrle and maybe RA Dickey could leave via free agency, leaving the Jays with Marcus Stroman, Drew Hutchison, and that’s it. Aaron Sanchez could be moved back to the rotation, and Dickey could/should have his option picked up, but that is a shaky rotation and the system can’t take another purge like the one it experience at the trade deadline.

Let’s compare CC and EE in 2015

Power (ISO)

EE- .251

CC- .196

BABIP (for Keegan)

EE- .266

CC- .403

OPS

EE- .871

CC- .892

Plate Discipline (BB-K)

EE- 0.71

CC- 0.23

WAR

EE- 2.8

CC- 0.6

Def

EE- -8.3

CC- -19.3

Splits

EE- LHP- .280 RHP- .261

CC- LHP- .311 RHP- .327

Edwin is clearly the better player, he is a premier talent, he contract won’t break the bank, and he’s still young enough to contribute at a high level for a few more seasons. By trading him this offseason the Jays would have more salary relief  and would have a DH/1st base combination of  CC and Justin Smoak next year at a combined salary of less than $1.5M. The lineup will continue being deep in 2016 and could handle the lost of its DH and replace him with a guy that projects to hit 20+ home runs over a full season.

Have your say.

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