As the sports world tried to comprehend the crazy Anthony Davis trade, Jeff Passan logged onto Twitter to pour gas on the fire, announcing that the New York Yankees have acquired slugger Edwin Encarnacion from the Seattle Mariners, in exchange for prospect Juan Then.
The 36-year-old first baseman had a great start in his first season in Seattle, leading the American League with 21 home runs while hitting at a .241/.356/.531 clip. The power-hitting righty adds another big bat to a Yankee lineup that already includes Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gary Sanchez. Encarnacion has been one of the best hitters in baseball for years, leading the majors in home runs since 2012. He is owed about $11 million this year, with a $20 million team option next year ($5 million buyout). The two teams are “essentially splitting” the cost, according to Ken Rosenthal.
The Mariners will receive a 19-year-old Dominican pitcher named Juan Then. Then was previously in the Seattle organization, but was shipped to New York in exchange for reliever Nick Rumbelow. He’s yet to pitch this season, but is 2-5 with a 2.67 ERA in his 24 minor league starts to this point.
While the addition of Encarnacion’s bat bodes well for the Yankee offense, it clouds Clint Frazier’s future with the club. The young outfielder has finally seemed to put it together on the offensive end, hitting .291/.340/.533 with 11 home runs in his first everyday role, but with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton coming off the IL soon, Encarnacion all but guarantees his departure from the organization, sooner rather than later. Rumors have been swirling around the Yankees over the possibility of trading for a starting pitcher, with questions marks plastered over the rotation.
Starters Madison Bumgarner, Marcus Stroman, Matthew Boyd, and Max Scherzer (probably not, but let a kid dream) all could be available for trade come July. This trade gives the Yankees flexibility and depth, making a trade all the more likely.
No one knows what the future holds, but one thing is for sure: Encarnacion’s signature parrot will be roaming Yankee Stadium very soon.