As if the Yankees didn’t have enough position players, they added another to the fold yesterday when they acquired 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for their 27th ranked prospect, 19-year old pitcher Juan Then.
Encarnacion currently leads the American League in home runs with 21, which is just one ahead of Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez. With sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton likely returning to the Yankees lineup in the coming weeks, the Bronx Bombers are about to boast one of the most powerful lineups in the league.
Although the Encarnacion trade came as a surprise to many, don’t expect the Yankees to be done making moves just yet. After missing out on the Dallas Keuchel sweepstakes, the Yankees are still looking to add another arm to the starting rotation. With Max Scherzer, Madison Bumgarner, Trevor Bauer and Marcus Stroman potentially on the move, the Yankees will explore trade options in hopes of solidifying their rotation for a World Series run. The latest rumors indicate that the Yankees have interest in Mets starter Zack Wheeler, who could be a potential depth add prior to the trade deadline.
With Encarnacion added to the fold, the Yankees now have a variety of expendable players that could be used as trade pieces in a deal for a top-end starter. Once fully healthy, the Yankees will likely boast a starting positional lineup as follows.
C – Gary Sanchez
1B – Luke Voit
2B – Gleyber Torres
SS – Didi Gregorius
3B – DJ LeMahieu
LF – Giancarlo Stanton
CF – Aaron Hicks
RF – Aaron Judge
DH – Edwin Encarnacion
With a variety of pitching options available for the Yankees, it seems as if Clint Frazier and Gio Urshela are the best trade pieces in a potential move for a starter.
At 24 years of age, Frazier is batting .285 with 11 HR and 34 RBI in 52 games played. Although he’s struggled at times in the field, Frazier’s stellar batting ability combined with his age makes him an extremely valuable trade asset. With Stanton and Judge returning soon and Encarnacion taking over the DH role, Frazier’s role with the Yankees is in question and make him the most likely to be traded in a potential deal for a starter.
Gio Urshela made his MLB debut in 2015 and enjoyed an up-and-down career as an MLB backup and AAA starter before taking off this season as a member of the Yankees. Urshela is currently batting .303 with 5 HR and 30 RBI in 58 games played. As stellar as Urshela has been at the plate and in the field, the Yankees may not have room for him. With Encarnacion taking over the DH role, it appears that Voit will remain at first base. If this is the case, the Yankees will likely move DJ Lemahieu to third base, taking over the role that Urshela held down for the majority of this season. With Lemahieu playing third in the meantime, and Miguel Andujar returning to the fold next season, Urshela’s future with the team is in question. Which is why it might be in the Yankees best interest to move him now, while his trade value is at an all-time high.
With valuable trade assets and a desperate need for rotational help, expect the Yankees to make some noise in the coming weeks.