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Yankees make bargain trade with Mariners to add yet more power in Encarnacion

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Seattle Mariners have traded designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion to the New York Yankees for prospect pitcher Juan Then, as first reported by Jeff Passan.

Encarnacion is owed over $15 million per Ken Rosenthal, who also reports that the two teams will roughly split the remaining money.

Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto traded Then to the Yankees for Nick Rumbelow two seasons ago. He now has the 19-year-old right-hander back in the Mariners’ organisation. Rumbelow was recently released.

MLB Pipeline have slotted Then in as the 16th prospect in the Mariners’ farm. Pipeline suggest Then could make it as a fourth or fifth starter; he has a high floor because he’s got good command for a teenager. Then hasn’t played above rookie ball, however.

Encarnacion is one of baseball’s most underrated hitters. He had a down year at 115 wRC+ with the Cleveland Indians last season, which saw him become part of a three-team trade. He ended up with the Mariners and has had a hot start, sitting at 139 wRC+.


For Encarnacion, though, this is not unsustainable – he has had six Major League seasons with a wRC+ of 130 or better and four above 145. The former Blue Jay has passed the 30-homer mark in every season since 2011 and already has 21 in 2019.

Giving up a pitcher a long way from the Majors, who has a limited ceiling right now, to land Encarnacion is a superb deal for the Yankees. Their line-up, with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton set to return, hardly needed an upgrade, but this makes it even scarier.

Adding a starter or two remains a priority, and this deal shouldn’t impact their ability to make a trade. Seattle covering some money gives the Yankees financial flexibility, and they retain the depth of their farm to delve into to land an ace like Madison Bumgarner or Trevor Bauer.

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