Philadelphia Phillies: 3 perfect DH options for 2021 season

Yoenis Cespedes #52, formerly of the New York Mets (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
Yoenis Cespedes #52, formerly of the New York Mets (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images) /
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2. Edwin Encarnacion

Sixteen-year veteran Edwin Encarnacion had a letdown year in 2020 — so much so, the Chicago White Sox declined his $12 million club option for next season. Despite this, the three-time All-Star and 38-year-old intends to play in 2021, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

“[Encarnacion] was one of many great hitters who struggled in the shortened pandemic year (.157, 10 HR), but he’s a historically slow starter (.237 April hitter),” Heyman wrote in November. “He’s already working out in preparation.”

Like Cespedes, the Dominican Republic native has stellar career numbers at Citizens Bank Park. Through 20 games and 85 plate appearances, he has scored 21 runs while slugging two triples, 12 home runs, and 20 RBI.

Coincidentally, the last time Encarnacion played in the National League was July 2009, when he was included as part of the deal that sent former Phillies third baseman Scott Rolen to the Cincinnati Reds.

Encarnacion began his career with the Reds in 2005, but did not turn into a perennial slugger and MVP candidate until his days with the Toronto Blue Jays. In 2016, Encarnacion led the American League with 127 RBI, helped by his 34 doubles and 42 home runs.

Through 766 career games in the DH spot, Encarnacion has slashed .262/.358/.510 with 185 home runs and 549 RBI. He has been one of Major League Baseball’s most consistent designated hitters. Excluding 2020, Encarnacion has had at least 50 RBI every season since 2010. There is no reason that he should not be able to bounce back from last year’s disappointment as the full-time Phillies designated hitter in 2021.