The Yankees struck early over the weekend, lining up a deal with the Mariners to bring in slugger Edwin Encarnacion. It’ll reportedly cost the club a pitching prospect (Juan Then) and something like $7MM in salary obligations (approximately half of the remainder owed by the M’s this season and on a 2020 option buyout).
It’s hard not to love the potential look of the Yanks’ lineup with Encarnacion added to the mix. He was obliterating opposing pitching to the tune of a .241/.356/.531 slash line and 21 home runs in Seattle. With fellow righty sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton on the mend, to say nothing of the players already on the active roster at the moment, the Bronx Bombers could have an otherworldly array of power bats down the stretch.
There’s certainly an argument that the New York organization should see starting pitching as its top priority. And that may well be the case. Adding EE hardly precludes further moves to add arms. The Yankees did take on luxury tax obligations and creep closer to the highest penalty level with this swap. But the deal also could help free the team to utilize young outfielder Clint Frazier in an ensuing move.
The Yanks hold the edge in the AL East at the moment, but it’s a precarious hold. The Rays seem to be here to stay while the Red Sox have steadily moved back into range. Adding Encarnacion provides an immediate boost, protects against further injury issues or setbacks, and creates immense lineup upside. On the other hand, it’s a costly move on an older player who joins a collection of defensively limited sluggers with Luke Voit already ensconced at first base and Judge & Stanton perhaps warranting some DH time when they return.
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