Update 12:36 a.m.: Yankees have made the deal official. Encarnacion for Then and cash considerations. RHP Jake Barrett was moved to the 60-day IL to make room on the 40-man roster.
Saturday: Here’s a stunner: The Yankees have acquired slugging 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion from the Mariners, according to reports. ESPN’s Jeff Passan was first to report the deal.
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
Joel Sherman indicated the Yankees are likely sending Minor League starter Juan Then to Seattle. Then, 19, has yet to pitch for an affiliate this season and was acquired from the Mariners along with J.P. Sears in 2017 for Nick Rumbelow.
Encarnacion, 36, is having a resurgent season after joining Seattle from Cleveland this offseason. He’s batting .241/.356/.531 with a 140 OPS+ and 21 home runs, which leads the American League. He’s hit at least 32 home runs in each of the last six seasons and hasn’t had a below-average OPS this decade.
Encarnacion is making $20 million in the final year of a three-year, $60 million contract initially signed with Cleveland. The Rays are paying $5 million as part of a three-team deal over the winter, while the Mariners likely have slightly more than $8 million left this season. There is a $20 million team option on his contract for next season with a $5 million buyout.
The Yankees and Mariners will essentially split the $15 million or so left including the buyout, according to Ken Rosenthal.
The slugger’s parrot, though, comes for free.
Encarnacion has played first base more often this season with 45 games there as opposed to 19 as the designated hitter. However, with the Yankees, he will split first base duties with Luke Voit. The acquisition could take playing time away from Gio Urshela, Brett Gardner and Clint Frazier with Giancarlo Stanton playing more outfield.
The Rays were expected to be a potential landing spot for the veteran, so the trade could serve the dual purpose of preventing a top hitter from landing with a rival team.