I don't think this indicates anything about this season (in terms of 'buying' and 'selling'). I think it indicates that the Jays want EE beyond this season.
AA is gambling that Encarnacion has shifted up to a new level, to the all-star level that Bautista and others have argued that EE has achieved this year
$9MM is about the going rate for an average position player. An All-Star, or near All-Star level, would be gravy.
I think this looks like a good contract that could work out to be an excellent contract.
This is what I wrote in the mid-season hitting report: "I think the most likely way things goes down is with Toronto offering arbitration and Encarnacion declining. Hear me out. EE's on a $3.5 million club option, and right now he ranks second amongst 1B in WAR. I can't see him getting less than 3/$30 million on the open market going into his age 30 season, with the only thing potentially holding him back being that a lot of big market AL teams (where he also makes sense as a DH) like Anaheim, New York, Boston and Detroit all have logjams at 1B/DH. I doubt the Jays would really want to pay that, but I could see the club, bereft of any other real options (other than trying to move Bautista) offering him arbitration, which I think is around $12 million, especially given the possibility he declines - as I mentioned I think Encarnacion can get close to that, but over multiple years."
I think the club got great value.
Very happy about this extension, one less hole to fill going forward regardless of whether it is 1B or DH. I love the protection he gives Bautista (Joey's resurgeance this year lines up perfectly with the switch from Lind to EE hitting behind him. Edwin's versatility (albeit mediocre versatility) is just gravy. Let's get a pitcher signed beyond this season (even if it is just 1) and I will consider this season a success for AA.
Yes, there's a significant difference in likely career paths for a 30 year old vs a 33 year old. Plus, I think there is a realistic possibility that EE does better than .830 OPS - I mentioned .830 or better. Willingham's contract looks like a very good deal for the Twins, he's been a good hitter for quite a while, and his numbers have probably been hurt somewhat by playing in pitchers' parks - his career OPS is higher on the road than at home. Let's put it this way - if you said you could have Willingham or Encarnacion for the next couple of years as your DH, I'd take Edwin.
Is it me or has this been an abnormally quiet all-star hiatus? Shouldn't there be all sorts of wheeling and dealing in the books by now?