Well that trade certainly came out of nowhere, didn’t it? Regardless of how long the trade was brewing or how it came about, there’s no doubt that adding a player of Edwin Encarnacion’s talent level helps improve the Yankees. With Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge close to returning, the lineup the Yankees are about to run out will look even more imposing. Here’s how I think I’d go about it.
- Aaron Hicks, CF
- Aaron Judge, RF
- Giancarlo Stanton, LF
- Gary Sanchez, C
- Luke Voit, 1B
- Edwin Encarnacion, DH
- DJ LeMahieu, 3B
- Didi Gregorius, SS
- Gleyber Torres, 2B
Okay. Stop. That’s just a stupid lineup. Two of the Yankees’ best hitters all year are batting seventh and ninth in that lineup. What else could we expect with a lineup featuring three of the best right handed power hitters in the game today? That’s without even mentioning Sanchez, who isn’t far down on that list and may be more valuable considering position. Given the power present in this lineup, it’s evident how good it could be without further breakdown. There are some domino effects, though.
The outfield dearth suddenly becomes an outfield logjam and the victims of that will likely be Cameron Maybin and (unfortunately) Clint Frazier. I imagine the former will be cut–despite good service–and the latter will be sent to the minors–despite good to great performance. The bench will most likely consist of Gio Urshela, Austin Romine, and Brett Gardner.
I’m a huge Stan for Clint so the idea of him not being on the 25 man roster is a bit hard to swallow, but it seems the most likely possibility for him, unless the Yankees do the (seemingly) unthinkable and go with a seven man bullpen instead of eight, leaving room for him and Gardner on the bench. Frazier, unlike Gardner (mostly), has earned a right to start. But with those outfield and DH combinations, it’d be hard to find him a spot unless one of the outfielders and one of Voit/Encarnacion was sitting every day, which is pretty unlikely.
I’m also beating around the bush here; this trade and the subsequent lineup construction most likely mean the end of Clint Frazier’s Yankee tenure. I don’t think he’ll be traded right away–and I still think trading him would be shortsighted–but it’s hard to see how he fits, unless they want to let him wallow in Scranton until someone gets hurt (likely) or rosters expand.
This trade was a big surprise and maybe we’ll be surprised by the roster construction in its wake. Regardless of how it shakes out, though, a team that already pounds the ball just got even more formidable.