The Mariners have grown “increasingly confident” they’ll be able to trade designated hitter/first baseman Edwin Encarnacion before their spring training opens, Jon Morosi of MLB.com says (video link). Encarnacion’s market has picked up in the wake of the Twins’ agreement with Nelson Cruz, whose suitors are now turning to the former. The Rays, White Sox and Astros are each “involved” on both Encarnacion and Cardinals first baseman/outfielder Jose Martinez, according to Morosi.
Encarnacion was already part of one trading involving the Rays this offseason – a three-team deal in which Cleveland sent him to to Seattle. The soon-to-be 36-year-old has been superfluous to the rebuilding Mariners’ roster since they acquired him, though, and the team likely wants to rid itself of as much of his contract as possible. Encarnacion’s owed a guaranteed $25MM through 2020, including a $5MM buyout in lieu of a $20MM club option that year. While Encarnacion was an offensive juggernaut from 2012-17, he’s coming off a somewhat pedestrian season by his standards, as he batted .246/.336/.474 (115 wRC+) in 579 plate appearances and didn’t see much time in the field. Martinez, 30, is hardly a defensive stalwart either, though he did offer quality production at the plate from 2017-18 and will collect a minimal salary in 2019.
- Encarnacion could become the latest household name to leave Seattle, but it appears outfielder Mitch Haniger will stay put. “We’re not really listening to offers,” Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto told MLB Network of Haniger (via TJ Cotterill of the Tacoma News Tribune). “They would have to blow us away, and they haven’t even come close.” The 28-year-old “represents everything we want to build around and be about as a team,” Dipoto continued, leading Cotterill to posit that Haniger, fellow outfielder Mallex Smith and left-hander Marco Gonzales figure to form the Mariners’ next veteran core. Haniger is unquestionably the most valuable player of the trio, given his superb production from 2017-18 and four remaining years of control (including one more pre-arb campaign).
- Before the Rangers traded him to the Athletics on Dec. 21, the Yankees were among the teams with interest in infielder Jurickson Profar, per Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News. However, New York wasn’t “willing to give up much” for Profar, Fraley writes. Texas received four minor leaguers and $750K in international bonus room for Profar, who’d have helped the Yankees cover for injured shortstop Didi Gregorius’ absence in 2019. Had the Yankees gotten Profar, whom they also showed interest in last offseason, he likely would have handled second base, thus sending Gleyber Torres to short. Although, with third baseman Miguel Andujar potentially on the block and free-agent shortstop/third baseman Manny Machado on the Yankees’ radar, it’s anyone’s guess how their infield would have aligned with Profar in it.
- With Machado’s future up in the air for at least a few more days, the Yankees are currently focused on their bullpen, Jon Heyman of Fancred tweets. Free agents David Robertson, Zach Britton and Adam Ottavino remain “in play” for the Yanks, who could sign more than one of those hurlers, Heyman notes. New York’s known to be in the market for two relievers, as it could lose both Robertson and Britton to other clubs.