Edwin Encarnacion
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The New York Yankees are declining Edwin Encarnacion’s $20 million option, officially making the veteran slugger a free agent.

The New York Yankees have declined first baseman and designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion‘s $20 million club option for 2020. The team announced the move on Thursday.

Encarnacion, 36, was acquired from the Seattle Mariners in June. His time in New York was stunted by wrist and oblique injuries, but he still proved a valuable bat in the lineup. The righty slugger hit .249 with 13 home runs and 37 RBI as a Yankee and .244 with 34 homers and 86 RBI overall.

Encarnacion also hit his 400th career home run in 2019.

Instead of bringing him back for another year, the Yankees will now pay Edwin Encarnacion a $5 million buyout. This officially makes him a free agent. Given New York’s abundance of hitters, the odds of Encarnacion returning are slim.

Encarnacion also hit a paltry .056 with 11 strikeouts in the ALCS, one of many Yankees hitters who struggled in October. His “Walk the Parrot” home run trot proved popular, so much so that a stuffed parrot was actually bought by his teammates and kept in the dugout.

As to Encarnacion’s future, it’s hard to say. He definitely has a home in MLB given his propensity for power, especially in the age of launch angles and exit velocities. Still, Encarnacion is not a strong fielder, so an AL team in need of a DH will prove to be his best fit.

It’s disappointing to see him go, but the Yankees’ money needs to be spent on pitching this winter. Moreover, Encarnacion was acquired due to New York’s plethora of injuries this season. Next season should be a healthier year. With a fully loaded lineup, Encarnacion’s services in the Bronx are no longer needed.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.