In the upcoming free agent class, the talent is very limited. With the New York Yankees needing DH help, could Edwin Encarnacion be a fit?
In 2016, the New York Yankees reinvented the lineup by bringing up many players from the minor leagues in order to boost offensive production. One area of the lineup that has still been a weak spot despite recent call-ups has been the designated hitter.
The Yankees had hopes that Alex Rodriguez would be able to replicate his performance from 2015 in the DH role. Obviously, this did not happen. Rodriguez and the Yanks decided retirement was best in August. The retirement gave the role to Carlos Beltran who was mainly used in this role.
Beltran did an amazing job as the DH with a slash line of .316/.351/.596 and nine home runs in 34 games. This would not last long as the Yankees traded Beltran to the Rangers right before the trade deadline.
With Brian McCann underperforming in the DH spot since the Beltran trade, the Yankees may be forced to look into free agency for someone to fill the role. One name in particular that would come to mind as a perfect fit would be current Blue Jay, Edwin Encarnacion.
Encarnacion has been a staple in the Blue Jays lineup ever since he arrived from the Reds in the middle of the 2009 season. Since 2012, he has been a solidified cleanup hitter, hitting 30-plus home runs in every season since.
Looking at the current Yankee lineup, they do not have that fearsome power bat other than Gary Sanchez. A veteran like Encarnacion would be the home run hitting bat that the Yankees are looking for. Also, with the departure of Mark Teixeira at season’s end, they could be in need of veteran leadership in the clubhouse.
Encarnacion not only could be used primarily as a DH but he can also be used as a first baseman as well if needed. In 2016, Encarnacion’s stats as a DH are .250/.351/.503 with 20 home runs in 84 games. Those stats will become even better while Edwin is hitting in the hitter-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium.
While examining if Encarnacion is a perfect fit or not, looking at his numbers while hitting in Yankee Stadium are one element that would be promising.
Yankee Stadium is one of his favorite places to hit. In 60 career games in the Bronx, Edwin has mashed a stellar 15 home runs, a number that is only bound to go up with more at-bats and as he gets more used to the environment with a new home crowd.
It will be interesting during the offseason to see how the Yankees offseason plans play out and if Encarnacion could be a fit in those plans.