The Yankees have acquired first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnacion from the Mariners, according to a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The Mariners are getting back pitching prospect Juan Then, per a report from USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale:
Edwin Encarnación has been traded from the Seattle Mariners to the New York Yankees, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN. Encarnación currently leads the American League with 21 home runs. The Mariners’ teardown is in full bloom and the Yankees get another big bat.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 16, 2019
Encarnacion is hitting .241/.356/.531 with an AL-best 21 homers this season. Barring a serious injury or a massive slump, Encarnacion is well on his way to hitting 30 or more homers for an eighth straight season, an accomplishment that speaks extremely well to his ability to change the game with his power.
The Yankees have been without their two most imposing power hitters, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, for most of the season, they didn’t get Didi Gregorius — who has hit 20-plus homers for the past three seasons — back until about a week ago, and they’ve lost another fearsome slugger in Miguel Andujar for the season due to shoulder surgery. At the very least, he should replace the power production they’ve lost with Andujar on the shelf, and with Judge and Stanton expected to return from the injured list imminently, the Yankees should quickly have the most powerful lineup in the American League, if not all of baseball.
Encarnacion, who has played 45 games at first base this season — the most he’s played there since his final year with the Blue Jays in 2016 — will likely continue to see time in the field with the Bronx Bombers, rotating between first base and the DH spot with Luke Voit. He’ll be the next in a long line of players they’ve tried to use in an attempt to get Voit off his feet a bit this season; they started off the year with Greg Bird in a de-facto platoon with Voit, but after he went on the injured list with a plantar fascia tear, they briefly tried out prospect Mike Ford before going out and acquiring veteran Kendrys Morales. Morales went on the injured list with a left calf strain, and since then they’ve been playing DJ LeMahieu — who has been reduced to a utility role following Gregorius’ return — whenever Voit slides into the DH slot.
Then, 19, was ranked as the No. 27 prospect in the Yankees’ system by MLB Pipeline. He was not assigned to a full-season club and was expected to pitch in rookie or short-season ball this summer. Then had a 2.70 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP over 11 starts for the GCL Yankees East last summer. Interestingly, Then was originally signed by the Mariners in July of 2016 but was traded to the Yankees (along with lefty JP Sears) in exchange for Nick Rumbelow in November of 2017.