NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 15: Edwin Encarnacion #30 of the New York Yankees celebrates hitting a double during the fifth inning against the Houston Astros in game three of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 15, 2019 in New York City.
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The New York Yankees lose yet another piece on the free-agent market, this time Edwin Encarnacion to the Chicago White Sox. 

According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, the Chicago White Sox have come to terms on a deal with Edwin Encarnacion.

While the move doesn’t come as a shock, losing Encarnacion is a big deal for the New York Yankees.

Encarnacion played a huge role for the Yankees in 2019. He spent most of the second half as their DH. Encarnacion hit .249/.325/.531 with the Yankees.

Encarnacion is the fourth player the Yankees have lost this offseason. He joins Didi Gregorius, Dellin Betances and Austin Romine.

The good news for Yankees fans is that they survived without many of those players in 2019. Gregorius played only 82 games last season. Betances faced just two batters the entire year. Romine was the backup catcher.

Still, losing those four players matters. Encarnacion was a huge bat in the middle of the Yankees order. His OPS of .856 was fifth on the team.

Losing so many players should scare Yankees’ fans. They received major contributions from older minor league players in 2019. That’s not something that is likely to repeat itself in 2020.

It would be unwise for the Yankees to bank on DJ LeMahieu continuing to play at an MVP level. The same can be said of Mike Tauchman and Gio Urshela‘s level of play—two players who weren’t even top-30 prospects for the Yankees before they broke out in the MLB.

The current plan is likely to replace Encarnacion with Miguel Andujar. If that’s the case, it’s very risky. Andujar is coming off a torn labrum, which is an injury known to sap a player’s power. He was absolutely awful in his 12 games back from injury during 2019.

Andujar slashed .128/.143/.128. He didn’t hit a single extra-base hit after returning from injury. He also played even worse defense at third base than he had previously. The torn labrum made his already questionable throwing arm even weaker.

The Yankees are set up to be a good team for a long time. That said, the injury histories of their major stars and the uncertainty that their depth provides are nerve-racking, to say the least.

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