Walking the Parrot: Roster Implications of the Edwin Encarnacion Acquisition

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.

  1. Aaron Hicks, CF
  2. Aaron Judge, RF
  3. Giancarlo Stanton, LF
  4. Gary Sanchez, C
  5. Luke Voit, 1B
  6. Edwin Encarnacion, DH
  7. DJ LeMahieu, 3B
  8. Didi Gregorius, SS
  9. 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.

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15 Comments

  1. BigYank1

    Gardner hit .236 last year and now he is at .226(,306 OBP) this year, he’s definitely on the way out. He doesn’t belong in the starting lineup anymore. I think the Yankees are more worried about the Red Sox than the Rays and they picked up EE because he has killed Boston in his career.

    • Dan

      Dude’s hitting .226/.306/.447 with above average defense and baserunning. I’m fine moving him to the bench if we have better options, but let’s not act like he’s not the best #9 hitter in the league.

    • RetroRob

      Gardner still rates as a league-average hitter this year, and as a reminder, league-average is good. He remains a solid defender who can play CF and remains an excellent base runner. I like Clint’s bat, but his bat can now be replaced by EE until he’s need agian. History says one of Judge/Hicks/Stanton will do more time on the DL, so call back him back up. Gardner is much better suited for the 4th OFer role. That doesn’t even touch upon his leadership position on the team and clubhouse.

      It’s also quite possible Clint will be moved in a trade for a front-line starter with team control beyond 2019. (No MadBum as he fills neither role.) I don’t want to see Frazier traded, but fine it it lands the right starter.

  2. SM

    Voit is a hitter who can’t make adjustments. That often hurts most in the playoffs. Frazier is basically a rookie, who missed a season and is raking despite getting dissed by fans and media idiots like M. Kay. He should be groomed as the their 1B as soon as he is ready to play there. It’s not like Voit’s defense is good. So Frazier should be able to get to his level soon.

    But this trade is a poor use of what they have said is limited room to spend.

    • CountryClub

      Meh, I don’t know. Can’t really turn down this kind of offense for 3 million dollars. That’s all that counts against the “cap” for 2019.

      • SM

        But you can turn down Keuchel for less with the rotation Cashman built imploding? That makes no sense.

        • CountryClub

          Bringing in Keuchel meant not adding any other players. He would have been it. And since there’s at least an avg chance that he struggles when he comes back, that would have been a pretty big gamble. Trust me, I agree that they need a pitcher. We’ll see how the next 6 weeks play out.

    • Dan

      Voit can’t make adjustments? Huh? What about the fact that he couldn’t hit high-heat fastballs up in the zone last year, and now he’s crushing them? Seems like an adjustment to me.

  3. CountryClub

    I can’t stand that stupid HR trot he has. But, hopefully we see it often.

    • RetroRob

      @CountryClub, so it’s a personal thing. You don’t like his HR trot, which he’s done more than any other American Leaguer since his arrival last year. That’s…funny.

      • CountryClub

        Well obviously it’s personal. But like a good fan, I put it aside and said I hope we see it often.

  4. Ryan

    I love Brett, but is there room for him?

    • CountryClub

      He’s a perfect 4th/5th OFer. He provides defense, speed and leadership (the first two will come in very handy).

    • RetroRob

      Yes. He’s the ideal 4th OFer. He can play defense and CF. Clint can’t. Not to mention, Clint really should be a starter. That may not happen fully until next year, but having him available to be called right back up with one of Judge/Stanton/Hicks gets IL’d again (it will happen) is exactly the reason the Yankees have been able to hang in first place with all these injuries. Cashman has built great depth. We’ll need it again. And, as I noted elsewhere, if Clint can be used to acquire a true front-line starter, all the better.

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