Seattle Mariners – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-06-20T19:19:46Z WordPress Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Felix Hernandez, Sam Tuivailala ]]> 2019-06-19T21:11:19Z 2019-06-19T21:06:10Z
  • The shoulder MRI that Mariners righty Felix Hernandez underwent Tuesday didn’t show any new issues, per Greg Johns of (Twitter links). As a result, Hernandez – out since May 11 – will resume his rehab, likely throwing a few bullpen sessions before taking the ball again in the minors. Meanwhile, teammate and fellow righty Sam Tuivailala will begin a rehab stint at the Single-A level Friday. Tuivailala, a July 2018 Mariners trade acquisition, has been out since last August with a right Achilles injury.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Felix Hernandez Undergoes MRI]]> 2019-06-19T03:29:33Z 2019-06-19T03:29:33Z
  • Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez underwent an MRI on his sore lat muscle on Tuesday, according to Greg Johns of Hernandez – who hasn’t pitched in the bigs since May 11 – had been on a rehab assignment, but concern arose when he exited a minor league start last Friday with shoulder fatigue. “Felix had some discomfort in the back of his shoulder,” manager Scott Servais said. “It’s concerning enough to get new images of that. Let’s find out exactly what is going on in there.” Thanks in part to Hernandez’s injuries, it appears the Mariners legend’s tenure in Seattle will go out with a whimper. The impending free agent, 33, has followed up his woeful 2018 production with an even worse 6.52 ERA/5.37 FIP in 38 2/3 innings and eight starts this season.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Ryon Healy Diagnosed With Spinal Stenosis]]> 2019-06-18T03:47:06Z 2019-06-18T03:47:06Z Mariners infielder Ryon Healy – out since May 21 with lower back issues – has been diagnosed with spinal stenosis, Greg Johns of reports. He’ll miss at least three to four more weeks as a result, according to manager Scott Servais.

    Healy will undergo an epidural Tuesday in hopes of lessening the pain, per Johns. While Healy doesn’t expect the procedure to cure his problem, he suggested to Johns that the injury shouldn’t be a hindrance going forward “if we rehab it properly.” 

    With the Mariners firmly in sell mode leading up to the July 31 deadline, Healy has come up in trade rumors during his time on the injured list. This latest development figures to officially take him out of play as an in-season trade piece for Seattle, though. More importantly, the hope is that it won’t hamper the 27-year-old Healy as he continues his career. A spinal stenosis diagnosis in 2015 helped derail former Mets third baseman David Wright, who seldom took the field again before deciding to wrap up his playing days at the end of last season.

    In addition to dealing with Healy’s ongoing absence, the Mariners will have to continue without right fielder Mitch Haniger for the time being, Johns explains. Haniger has been on the IL with a ruptured testicle since June 7. While Haniger has begun light (non-baseball) activity, there’s still no timetable for his return.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Astros, Rockies Had Interest In Edwin Encarnacion]]> 2019-06-17T12:15:02Z 2019-06-17T03:53:21Z Moving as much of Edwin Encarnacion’s salary as possible was the Mariners’ prime incentive in finding a trade partner for the slugger, which is why the Yankees ultimately won the bidding.  Other teams were also checking in with the M’s about Encarnacion, though ultimately weren’t as willing as New York was to cover as much salary,’s Mark Feinsand tweets.  We heard earlier today about the Rays’ interest, and Feinsand reports that the Astros “were also actively involved, with the Rockies in the mix to a lesser extent.”

    Encarnacion would certainly have beefed up a first base/DH mix that has been Houston’s only real offensive weak spot this season, as both Yuli Gurriel and Tyler White have posted below-average numbers.  Then again, young Yordan Alvarez’s hot start has created optimism that the Astros could address that DH need from within, and the Astros are seemingly more in need of pitching than they are of another big bat (then again, the same could’ve been said of the Yankees).

    In terms of taking on salary, Jason Martinez of Roster Resource has the Astros projected for a luxury tax number of just under $189.5MM, well below the $206MM Competitive Balance Tax threshold.  Since the Yankees ended up adding only $3.4MM in extra luxury tax funds in the Encarnacion trade, on paper it would seem like Houston would certainly have taken on a similar financial obligation and still had enough money left over to acquire pitching without crossing the CBT line.  Of course, it’s possible other factors were part of any Houston/Seattle talks. Perhaps the Mariners wanted more to trade Encarnacion within the AL West; maybe the two sides just couldn’t agree on a suitable prospect to change hands in a deal.

    Colorado would’ve been more of a curious fit for Encarnacion, which likely explains their “lesser” degree of interest.  Without a DH spot on offer, the Rockies would have had to play Encarnacion at first base every day, which might have been a tough ask of a 36-year-old who has spent the bulk of his time as a designated hitter over the last nine seasons.  (Encarnacion did start at first base 45 times for the Mariners this year, though still with 19 DH starts to keep him well-rested.)

    Adding Encarnacion to first base would have also required a shift back to second base for Daniel Murphy, who has been a decidedly subpar defensive second baseman throughout his entire career.  The Rockies might have been considering whether the fielding dropoff would have been worth the risk, since Murphy’s bat might have at least sparked some type of positive help from the second base spot.  No team in baseball has gotten less production (-1.0 bWAR) than the Rockies out of their second basemen in 2019.

    Then again, Murphy has yet to really catch fire at the plate himself, hitting only .278/.324/.463 with five homers over 176 PA, while missing four weeks with a fractured finger.  As the Rockies look towards the trade deadline, the easier solution to their second base situation might be to simply acquire an actual second baseman as an upgrade over the Ryan McMahon/Brendan Rodgers/Garrett Hampson mix, rather than move Murphy over and obtaining a new first baseman.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rays Notes: Edwin, Trades, Alvarado]]> 2019-06-16T19:57:08Z 2019-06-16T19:57:58Z 2:57pm: Alvarado is back in the United States, Toribio reports (via Twitter).  The left-hander will get some work in at the Rays’ Single-A affiliate to ramp up in preparation for his return to the majors.

    2:01pm: Before Edwin Encarnacion was dealt to the Yankees last night, the Rays were also in talks with the Mariners about the slugger,’s Buster Olney reports (Twitter link).  As is so often the case for Tampa Bay, however, payroll was a factor, as the “Yankees were in better position to absorb” a larger portion of Encarnacion’s contract.  Ironically, the Rays are already paying a chunk of Encarnacion’s $20MM salary for the 2019 season — as per the terms of the Rays/Mariners/Indians three-team deal in December, Tampa is covering $5MM of the money owed to Encarnacion.

    Taking on more salary apparently wasn’t feasible for the Rays, especially given that Seattle is trying to cut as much payroll as possible.  While checking in on a player of Encarnacion’s caliber, or checking with a rebuilding team like the Mariners, is just good due diligence for any team, the Rays’ interest could hint at the team’s intentions heading towards the trade deadline.  Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times hears from a club official that the Rays will be “in on everybody” leading up to July 31, leading to a wealth of interesting options given how much minor league talent Tampa has on offer, or how much the team is willing to even modestly expend its salary commitments.

    For instance, Topkin cites former Ray and current Padres closer Kirby Yates as “a potential bullpen trade target.”  We’ve already heard that San Diego would basically need to be blown away to move Yates, and that’s assuming they become deadline sellers at all given that the team is still alive in the NL wild card race.  A pitcher like Yates fits the Rays’ model, however, as he is only owed around $1.4MM for the remainder of this season and is also arbitration-controlled through 2020.

    The bullpen seems to be Tampa Bay’s “top need,” Topkin writes, though he also (more hypothetically) suggests that the Rays could even explore a blockbuster position player addition like Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor.  Needless to say, that type of a trade would be a longer shot, though it suggests just how open the Rays are to all options as they push to win the AL East.

    In regards to the pen, the Rays should theoretically be in line for some internal help once Jose Alvarado returns from the restricted list.  However,’s Juan Toribio (Twitter link) reports that “there is still no timetable for” when Alvarado would potentially rejoin the club.  The left-hander originally went on the family medical emergency list back on June 2, though since that leave period has a maximum of seven days, the Rays moved Alvarado to the restricted list a week later.

    Details are scarce, which isn’t unusual given the personal nature of the situation, though the longer Alvarado is out, the more it could enhance Tampa’s need for relief help, particularly from the left side.  Alvarado has a troubling 6.2 BB/9 this season, yet despite that shaky control, still has a 3.09 ERA and 12.3 K/9 over 23 1/3 innings this season.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mariners To Select Austin Nola’s Contract]]> 2019-06-16T17:23:57Z 2019-06-16T17:23:09Z 12:23pm: The Mariners have officially announced Nola’s addition to the roster.

    12:09am: The Mariners will call up catcher/utility infielder Austin Nola to the majors, manager Scott Servais told reporters following tonight’s game.  Nola will take the roster spot left open after Edwin Encarnacion was traded to the Yankees earlier today.

    This will mark the first time that the 29-year-old Nola has appeared in the big leagues, following an eight-year professional career largely spent in Miami’s farm system.  Originally drafted in the fifth round by the Marlins in the 2012 draft, Nola (the older brother of Phillies righty Aaron Nola) has a modest .252/.340/.339 slash line over 3085 PA in the minors, though he has broken out in his first season in the Mariners’ organization.

    After being let go by the Marlins after the 2018 campaign, Nola has hit an impressive .327/.415/.520 with seven home runs over 229 PA for Triple-A Tacoma.  While Nola is older than a lot of his competition and it’s probably unlikely he’s a late bloomer, his success has nevertheless earned him a trip to the Show.

    Nola brings some unusual versatility to Seattle’s bench, as he shifted to catching in 2017 after primarily playing middle infield for his first several seasons.  Most of Nola’s work has come behind the plate over the last three seasons, though he has also seen time at both corner infield spots.  At the very least, he can spell first baseman Daniel Vogelbach against tough lefties, while also backing up third base and giving the M’s more catching depth behind Omar Narvaez and Tom Murphy.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Mariners’ Trade Possibilities]]> 2019-06-16T18:53:17Z 2019-06-16T16:41:56Z The out-of-contention Mariners cut some payroll Saturday when they traded pricey slugger Edwin Encarnacion to the Yankees. If Seattle ownership has its way, that won’t be the last payroll-slashing deal the Mariners make in advance of the July 31 deadline. Owner John Stanton & Co. would like to see general manager Jerry Dipoto move anyone making money, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

    Considering the way the Mariners’ season began, this probably isn’t the news their fans were expecting in April. Although the Mariners retooled in the offseason and weren’t supposed to contend this year, they emerged as the story of baseball amid a blazing 13-2 start. The club has dropped 42 of 59 since then, though, now own the majors’ sixth-worst record (30-44) and is on track to increase its playoff drought to 18 years.

    With no hope to push for relevance this season, the question now is which veterans will follow Encarnacion (and the previously departed Jay Bruce) out of Seattle. It’s “likely” the Mariners would prefer to deal right-hander Mike Leake and second basemen Dee Gordon more than anyone else, Heyman reports.

    There have already been talks regarding Leake with at least one team – the Diamondbacks – though those discussions didn’t reach advanced stages. As a longtime innings eater who has typically prevented runs at a league-average rate, Leake could hold value to some team whose rotation needs shoring up. However, Leake’s still owed around $29MM through 2020 – including $9MM that his previous team, St. Louis, is paying him and a $5MM buyout for 2021 – and has a full no-trade clause. Therefore, even if the Mariners eat a sizable portion of Leake’s remaining deal, there’s no guarantee the 31-year-old would sign off on a deal.

    Gordon, also 31, won’t be able to block a trade anywhere. The trouble is that the speed merchant has been little more than a replacement-level player since 2018. To make matters worse, Gordon still has about $20MM coming his way through next season (including a $1MM buyout for 2021), so there’s limited appeal in his case.

    Other than Leake and Gordon, third baseman Kyle Seager, lefties Yusei Kikuchi and Wade LeBlanc, outfielder Domingo Santana, infielder Tim Beckham, and relievers Cory Gearrin and Hunter Strickland are each earning in the millions.

    The Mariners won’t find a taker for the once-great Hernandez, an injured, sharply declining soon-to-be free agent on a $27MM-plus salary. Seager’s set for guaranteed salaries of $18MM-$19MM through 2021, and essentially has a poison pill contract that may be impossible to move. Seager would be able to convert his $15MM club option for 2022 into a player option if dealt. He’d no doubt exercise it.

    Kikuchi hasn’t stood out during his first season in Seattle, but it’s hard to imagine the team cutting the cord on the Japanese import just a few months after he was a ballyhooed offseason addition. LeBlanc’s 34 and making $2.3MM this season, the last guaranteed year of his deal. He’s not pitching like someone who’d be able to help a contender, though.

    Santana has been one of the Mariners’ best players in 2019, his first year with the club. It’s up in the air whether it would deal him, but as someone who’s only under control for two more years after this one, it could happen if Seattle doesn’t think it will contend by then. Santana, 26, would warrant a solid return considering his performance, control and current salary ($1.95MM).

    Beckham has fallen off dramatically since a hot start to the beginning of the season, which has caused him to lose significant playing time. But the 29-year-old impending free agent may pique teams’ interest as cheap infield depth ($1.75MM).

    Gearrin’s making a shade less than Beckham ($1.5MM), and because he has generally been a useful major league reliever, the Mariners may be able to trade him without a lot of trouble. Meantime, Strickland still hasn’t returned since suffering a right lat strain March 30. The former Giant could have been a trade chip this season had he shown well, as he’s making a mere $1.3MM and comes with arbitration eligibility through 2021. As of now, however, it appears he’ll say put this summer.

    Aside from Santana, whom Seattle may want to keep as a building block, valuable commodities are hard to find among its million-dollar players. The Mariners combined for savings in the neighborhood of $10MM in the Encarnacion and Bruce deals, but continuing to cut payroll to a large extent will be difficult when the majority of their most expensive players aren’t producing.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Yankees Acquire Edwin Encarnacion]]> 2019-06-17T12:47:17Z 2019-06-16T04:49:54Z 11:49pm: The trade has been officially announced by both teams.  Jake Barrett was moved to the Yankees’ 60-day IL to make a 40-man roster spot for Encarnacion.

    7:50pm: The Yankees have acquired first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnacion from the Mariners,’s Jeff Passan reports (Twitter link).  Right-handed pitching prospect Juan Then is headed to the M’s in the trade, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports, and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale adds that Then is the only player being acquired in exchange for Encarnacion.

    According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link), the two teams are “essentially splitting the money” owed to Encarnacion for the remainder of his contract.  The slugger has roughly $9.25MM left on the $20MM owed to him this season, after accounting for the $5MM being covered by the Rays as per the terms of the three-team trade that brought Encarnacion to Seattle from Cleveland back in December.  Encarnacion also has a $5MM buyout of a $20MM club option for the 2020 season.

    The Yankees had a projected luxury tax number of slightly over $227.6MM prior to the trade, as estimated by Roster Resource’s Jason Martinez.  The addition of Encarnacion will all but guarantee that New York exceeds the second-highest luxury tax threshold ($226MM), though it still keeps them below the maximum penalty threshold of $246MM, as Joel Sherman tweets that Encarnacion’s luxury tax hit is a modest $3.4MM.  Should the Yankees exceed that $246MM figure, they’d be taxed at a 62.5 percent surcharge on the overage of every dollar beyond $206MM, plus their top draft pick in 2020 would be dropped by ten slots.

    All in all, it’s a more than reasonable price for the Yankees to pay to add the American League’s leading home run hitter to their lineup.  After going through a bit of a down year by his standards in 2018 (though still producing a 115 wRC+), the 36-year-old Encarnacion was back in top form in Seattle, with a .241/.356/.531 slash line and 21 homers over 289 plate appearances.  Depending on how things go over the rest of the season, it’s also quite possible that the Yankees could pick up Encarnacion’s option for 2020, making him more than just a rental player.

    With Encarnacion now in the fold to share first base and DH duties with Luke Voit, the Yankees have further boosted their already-strong lineup to near-Murderer’s Row levels when everyone is healthy.  Encarnacion now joins an everyday mix that will include Voit, Gleyber Torres, Didi Gregorius, DJ LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, and Gary Sanchez, not to mention Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, and Gio Urshela available off the bench.  With this much depth on hand, it increases the chance that Frazier (who isn’t far removed from top-50 prospect status) could potentially become an expendable piece to acquire starting pitching at the deadline.

    Encarnacion’s revived production only made him more of a trade chip for a Mariners team that continues to drastically overhaul its roster, and is willing to absorb salary to accommodate these trades.  Daniel Vogelbach has already emerged as an everyday first baseman/DH in Seattle, leaving the Mariners free to deploy Ryon Healy in the other slot when he returns from the IL, or the M’s can rotate multiple players through the DH role to keep everyone fresh.

    Mariners fans may question the relative lack of a return for a decorated slugger like Encarnacion, though as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd recently examined, the veteran’s market was relatively slim.  He wasn’t really an ideal fit for everyday first base duty, which eliminated most NL teams, and even the American League market was relatively limited simply because there aren’t many teams still in realistic playoff contention.  Adding Encarnacion might have put the Red Sox over the maximum tax threshold for the second straight year, though for the Astros and even the small-payroll Rays, they could regret not topping the relatively small amount of money and prospect capital it apparently would’ve cost to pry Encarnacion away from a Mariners club that was open to offers.

    Then, 19, is a familiar name for Mariners fans, as Seattle originally signed Then as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic in 2016.  The Yankees acquired Then in November 2017 as part of the deal that sent Nick Rumbelow to the M’s, and ranked Then as the 27th-best prospect in New York’s farm system.  Then has yet to pitch this season, but has a 2.67 ERA, 3.77 K/BB rate, and 7.9 K/9 over his first 111 1/3 innings as a professional.  According to’s scouting report, Then doesn’t have a true plus pitch but “has a high floor” because of strong fastball command, a promising curveball, and “a changeup that’s advanced for his age.”

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mariners Reinstate J.P. Crawford, Place Brandon Brennan On IL]]> 2019-06-15T05:29:03Z 2019-06-15T05:29:03Z
  • The Mariners reinstated shortstop J.P. Crawford from the IL on Friday and placed reliever Brandon Brennan on the IL with a strained right shoulder, per Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. Crawford had been out since suffering a left ankle sprain May 28. The injury to Brennan continues what has been a shaky season for the 2018 Rule 5 pick from the Rockies. Brennan leads Mariners relievers in innings (34) and has posted 9.26 K/9 with a 55.4 percent groundball rate, but a high walk rate (5.29 BB/9) has helped produce a 5.56 ERA/4.39 FIP.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mariners Sign Second-Rounder Brandon Williamson]]> 2019-06-13T21:34:55Z 2019-06-13T21:08:08Z
  • The Mariners have signed second-round pick Brandon Williamson,’s Jim Callis reports (via Twitter).  The TCU left-hander will get a $925K bonus, so Seattle will save some money given the 59th pick’s recommended $1,185,500 bonus price.  Both (which ranked Williamson 83rd on their prospect list) and Baseball America (which had him 86th) see a bit of hidden-gem potential in Williamson, given his 6’5″ frame and a promising four-pitch array, though BA’s scouting report doesn’t feel he currently has a true plus pitch.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Release Nick Rumbelow]]> 2019-06-12T23:16:33Z 2019-06-12T23:16:33Z The Mariners have released right-hander Nick Rumbelow from their Triple-A affiliate, tweets Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. He’d already been designated for assignment and outrighted off the 40-man roster earlier in the season but will now hit the open market in search of a new opportunity.

    Rumbelow, 27, has had a disastrous 2019 season both in his limited MLB time and in Triple-A Tacoma. He was tagged for four runs in 1 1/3 innings with the Mariners early in the year and has been tattooed for an 8.17 ERA with 37 hits and a 22-to-15 K/BB ratio in 25 1/3 innings in Tacoma.

    Rumbelow showed some promise in the Mariners’ minor league ranks last year, notching a 1.83 ERA and a 26-to-8 K/BB ratio in 19 2/3 innings, and he was similarly impressive in the Yankees’ minor league system in 2017 when working back from Tommy John surgery. Even with this year’s ugly results, though, Rumbelow has a career 3.88 ERA with 9.7 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9 in 141 1/3 innings at the Triple-A level. However, he’s yet to find any success in the Majors to this point in his career; in 34 2/3 big league innings, Rumbelow has a 5.97 ERA and 10 home runs allowed.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Is There A Trade Market For Edwin Encarnacion?]]> 2019-06-12T15:23:23Z 2019-06-12T15:00:43Z In last week’s chat, I was asked which MLB player would be the next to be moved via trade. My mind immediately went to one place: the Mariners. GM Jerry Dipoto’s reputation precedes him. And he’s in a dealing mood, having already swung one deal on an expensive veteran and tried to work out another. But when it came to naming the specific player, it seemed too pedestrian to guess starter Mike Leake, who has already come up in talks, or pick an easy-come, easy-go reliever.

    Instead, I went with veteran slugger Edwin Encarnacion, a long-time star who has been out of the spotlight of late. He’s hitting well, sure, but does EE even have a strong market right now? Let’s take a closer look.

    The M’s ended up with Encarnacion when the music stopped on a dizzying game of lumbering slugger musical chairs over the offseason. It seemed at one point he’d be shipped elsewhere over the winter, but that didn’t come to pass. He is earning a $20MM salary this year. There’s also a $5MM buyout on a 2020 option, though the complicated trade that brought Encarnacion to Seattle included a $5MM payment to cover that amount.

    With that kind of coin still owed, Encarnacion’s contract is unquestionably under water. He’s 36 years old and was merely good at the plate last year. He has mostly been limited to DH duties in recent seasons, though he has lined up at first base thus far in 2019 with palatable metrics.

    On the other hand, Encarnacion can really hit. He’s back in business thus far, making the ’18 output look like a minor blip. Through 283 plate appearances, Encarnacion carries a .246/.360/.542 slash — that’s good for a healthy 143 wRC+ — and leads the American League with 21 round-trippers.

    The M’s won’t shed all the remaining money owed, but they could well dump a significant portion of it. There’s even an argument to be made that the ’20 club option could be worthwhile; given the hefty buyout price, the $20MM rate of pay is effectively a $15MM decision. The Twins spent $14.3MM on Nelson Cruz this past winter and certainly don’t regret it.

    The supply situation seems generally favorable for Seattle. For teams looking for serious lineup punch, there’s a relative dearth of obvious targets. The market hasn’t yet settled out, but it’s tough to imagine a better win-now DH/1B candidate being made available at this stage of the season (if at all, at least at a palatable price).

    How much money the Seattle org will save, and/or what it can achieve in terms of prospects, will depend upon Dipoto’s ability to drum up interest from multiple teams. So how do things look from the demand side?

    American League teams make for a natural fit, given Encarnacion’s defensive limitations. But it’s possible that NL clubs will also consider him, particularly since they’ve had a chance to see him play first base extensively this year. Most plausibly, the Brewers could pull the plug on the struggling Jesus Aguilar and replace him with Encarnacion. Some would argue the team should prioritize pitching, but there’s real potential for improvement here as well. Plus, it’d answer the rival Cubs’ recent signing of Craig Kimbrel — and give the Brew Crew a big righty bat to slot in against the Cubbies’ lefty-heavy rotation. You really have to squint to see any other National League outfits matching at present, but several could make sense depending upon injuries and other developments over the coming weeks.

    Turning to the AL side of the ledger, Encarnacion would actually match up nicely with the team that just dealt him away. Carlos Santana has thrived since making his own return to the Indians, but the team still desperately needs more punch and could hand the DH slot right back to EE. While he fits on the roster, Encarnacion probably won’t squeeze into the payroll.

    There’s perhaps also an argument for the Rangers to take a look. If they’re going to slug their way into the Wild Card, they may as well go whole-hog, and Ronald Guzman has been below-average at the plate. But it’d be a bit of an odd move for a team that is desperate for starting pitching and likely doesn’t want to expend too much cash (and certainly won’t want to give up future value) on a season that may well fizzle out.

    The Yankees haven’t received the bounce back they hoped for from Kendrys Morales, but he’s also just a temporary fix. It’d be an unexpected splurge to go for Encarnacion with Luke Voit holding down the fort at first, multiple major bats on the rehab trail, and needs elsewhere.

    What about the scuffling defending champs? The Red Sox are actually a somewhat interesting fit, but only if they’re willing to utilize Encarnacion at first base and further boost their league-high spending levels. Steve Pearce has collapsed at the plate. Mitch Moreland has hit well from the left side but is hurt. Michael Chavis has hit a lull; he’d also still be an option at second base with the addition of Encarnacion.

    How about the Rays, who are tied atop the AL East with the Yanks and will need to max out their resources down the stretch? The Tampa Bay org is getting solid value from Ji-Man Choi at first base, with Yandy Diaz sliding over from third to handle lefties. There’s not a huge DH need since the club has a bit of a corner outfield surplus with Avisail Garcia, Tommy Pham, and Austin Meadows. That said, there’s some window for a deal since Choi and top hitting prospect Nate Lowe are both lefty hitters. The club will surely also consider putting its money and prospects to work to add pitching, but a move for Encarnacion is well worth considering.

    The Astros may be the best fit, all things considered. It’s a team that sometimes seems to have it all, but there are caveats. Right now, the ’Stros aren’t healthy, and it’d be preferable to ensure the offense keeps producing while the team awaits the returns of some star players. More importantly, there is a rather notable roster opening in the slugger department. Encarnacion was reputedly on the Houston radar before the season and he ought to be an even bigger target now, with Yuli Gurriel and Tyler White both producing at subpar rates. Even if Yordan Alvarez grabs hold of the DH spot, Encarnacion could step in at first base. This possibility is especially tempting to contemplate since it could help the Houston organization form up a historically exceptional lineup in time for the postseason.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mariners Reinstate Dee Gordon From IL]]> 2019-06-12T04:42:35Z 2019-06-12T04:41:06Z
  • The Mariners activated second baseman Dee Gordon from the 10-day injured list Tuesday, the team announced. They optioned righty Matt Festa to Triple-A Tacoma in a corresponding move. Gordon’s back after missing 19 games with a right wrist contusion. The 31-year-old trade candidate is off to a .280/.309/.366 start (85 wRC+) with three home runs and 12 steals on 14 attempts across 177 plate appearances.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Sign Matt Carasiti; Former M's First-Rounder Peterson Released By White Sox]]> 2019-06-11T01:05:59Z 2019-06-11T01:05:00Z
  • The Cubs granted right-hander Matt Carasiti his release from their Triple-A club over the weekend, per Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register (Twitter links). He quickly latched on with the Mariners on a new minor league pact and has already appeared in his first game with Seattle’s top affiliate in Tacoma, where he allowed an earned run in 1 2/3 innings of work. In 27 innings of work with Chicago’s Iowa affiliate this season, Carasiti notched a 2.67 ERA with 7.7 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 and a 54.1 percent ground-ball rate. The 27-year-old righty has a 2.85 ERA with 98 strikeouts against 36 walks in parts of three Triple-A campaigns (85 1/3 innings). He’s also had some success overseas, with a 3.98 ERA in 103 2/3 innings in his lone season pitching in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, and he made a brief big league appearance with the Rockies in 2016. Carasiti allowed 16 runs in 15 2/3 innings with the Rox, though he’s pitched fairly well at every turn since that rough debut.
  • The White Sox released minor league corner infielder D.J. Peterson, according to the Triple-A International League’s transactions page. A former first-round pick (Mariners, 2013) and Top 100 prospect, Peterson has yet to make his Major League debut. After a productive year with the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate in 2018, he’s struggled to a dismal .189/.268/.370 slash through 143 plate appearances so far in 2019. The right-handed-hitting Peterson has ample experience at both infield corners but spent more time at third base than at first in his brief time with the White Sox. He’s a career .254/.310/.424 hitter in 1320 plate appearances across parts of five Triple-A seasons.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[D'Backs/Mike Leake Trade Talks "Never Got Serious"]]> 2019-06-10T04:03:24Z 2019-06-10T04:03:24Z
  • The Mariners and Diamondbacks discussed a potential trade earlier this week that would’ve sent Mike Leake to Arizona, though in the words of FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (video link), these negotiations “never got serious.”  As we heard on Thursday, Leake was never contacted about the trade, which would’ve been a necessary step since Leake has a no-trade clause in his contract.  Given that the M’s have shown a willingness to eat money in trades of their veteran players, Leake could have been (and perhaps even still is) a particularly attractive option to a D’Backs team that doesn’t have a ton of payroll room.  In Leake’s case, Seattle would also be sharing the financial burden with the Cardinals.  As per the terms of the trade that brought Leake to the Mariners from the Cardinals, St. Louis was responsible for $9MM of the $36MM owed to Leake over the 2019-20 seasons.
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