The Yankees got a massive power boost on Saturday night when they acquired slugging first baseman Edwin Encarnacion from the Mariners in exchange for a low-level minor leaguer.
The two clubs have been such frequent trade partners over the past few years that the prospect acquired by Seattle, righthander Juan Then, had already been dealt between the two teams once before. Encarnacion’s addition gives New York a big boost of righthanded thump to complement a group also on the verge of adding All-Star outfielders Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton back to the mix.
Edwin Encarnacion, 1B
Even playing in one of the most historically pitcher-friendly ballparks, Encarnacion has slugged an American League-best 21 home runs. Despite the spacious confines at T-Mobile Park, Encarnacion has still slugged .559 with nine long balls at home. Though he is not a sparkling defender, he is likely to split time with Luke Voit between first base and designated hitter (he even played one inning at second base this year, against the Yankees). He is signed through the remainder of 2019 and has a team option for 2020. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Mariners are sending $8.4 million to New York as part of the deal, which makes the Yankees’ luxury tax hit approximately $3.4 million.
Juan Then, RHP
Then was originally signed by the Mariners in 2016, and he showed promise in the Dominican Summer League. He was swapped to New York that offseason, along with lefty J.P. Sears, for reliever Nick Rumbelow. Then posted fine numbers in 2018 in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, and was sporting a 92-95 mph fastball this spring in extended spring training. He backed the pitch up with a changeup that projected to be plus, as well as a slider that could get to average with further refinement. He was a lottery ticket when the Yankees acquired him, and he remains a lottery ticket now.