Despite needing pitching more than anything, one report hints that the New York Yankees may make a big splash at slugger Edwin Encarnacion.
In the report, the Boston Red Sox are listed as favorites while the Yankees and Texas Rangers have now been linked to the 33-year old All-Star.
Encarnacion, who finished in the top-15 in the American League MVP voting in three of the past four seasons, has hit 193 home runs and has maintained a .272/.367/.544 slash line with an OPS of .912 since 2012.
In 2016, he finished tied with David Ortiz for the most RBI (127).
He also finished third with 42 home runs, tenth in OPS (.886), sixth in isolated power (.266) but did strike out 138 times, the most of his 12-year career. More impressively, though, no hitter in baseball has more home runs than Encarnacion does (210) since 2011.
In his postseason career (20 games) the Dominican-born superstar has hit four home runs while slashing .280/.372/.480 with 14 RBI.
Encarnacion has utterly and unquestionably established himself one of the game’s greatest hitters who would surely transform New York’s offense into one of the most prominent in the game.
Plus, while adding to the pitching staff seems to be the main focus, the offense was anemic in 2016. They finished 22nd in runs scored, 19th in home runs, 24th in OPS, 20th in overall batting average, and second-to-last in batting average with runners in scoring position.
Without a doubt, Encarnacion would have an enormous influence on bringing those rankings within the top-10, at least. But is he a fit? That’s when things get complicated.
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With first baseman Greg Bird expected to take over at first base, Encarnacion will likely have to be the team’s designated hitter and backup first baseman in case Bird needs a day off or goes down with an injury.
At this moment, Brian McCann, who joined Mike Piazza, Johnny Bench, and Yogi Berra as the only catchers in history to hit more than 20 homers in 10 straight seasons, will be the DH so there is no way general manager Brian Cashman considers Encarnacion without the thought of dealing McCann.
To tag along with that, Spotrac estimates Encarnacion’s market value to be able to wheel in a five-year, $117-million which would certainly destroy any chances of Cashman getting beneath the luxury tax, especially if he were to ink Aroldis Chapman or Kenley Jansen to contracts.
Also, signing Encarnacion would bring in a long-term commitment on a 33-year old while the probability of making a splurge on the stacked free-agent class of 2018-2019 seem discouraging.
The Red Sox will also pursue him, and possibly overcompensate, much more aggressively than any other team thanks to the retirement of David Ortiz. Encarnacion would have some fun playing at Fenway, adding to his value to Boston.
A potential fit? Sure. But will Encarnacion be sending balls out of the yard in the Bronx in 2017 and beyond? Don’t bet on it.
Christian Kouroupakis covers the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball for ESNY. Interact with him and view his daily work by “liking” his facebook page and follow him on Twitter. All statistics are courtesy of Baseball Reference.com unless otherwise noted. Don’t hesitate to shoot him an email with any questions, criticisms, or concerns.