Imagine a world where Edwin Encarnación’s Parrot has to shave her beard all in the name of uniformity. That is what we’re dealing with here, folks. Can you imagine Encarnacíon sans his fine chinstrap beard and his poor, poor bird, razor-burnt by necessity under the scourge of the evil empire? Yikes, am I right?
And I haven’t even gotten to that part where our beautifully colorful feathered friend is relegated into some black and white pinstriped horror show.
I hope it is not to be.
At the end of the day, it’ll be up to Lord Jerry to decide if Edwin and Co. are shipped to the Dark Sith. I hope that’s not the case, but sacrifices must be made.
All joking aside, Edwin deserves to play for a winner and compete for a ring and New York is as good a chance as any. And New York could certainly use the bat.
The Yankees have primarily worked a rotation of Luke Voit and Kendrys Morales at first base this season and have seen some success in doing so. Voit, in particular, has been quite successful on the first base bag, slashing .263/.380/.504 from the right side of the plate with 16 Big Apple Bombs. Voit has less than 500 big league plate appearances, so it remains to be seen if he can continue this production until the end of the year.
The Yankees have also used a rotating door approach at Designated Hitter, something that may continue if New York fails to get entirely healthy.
At bare minimum, Encarnacíon represents a platooning stellar bench bat for New York in a playoff run. The team could use the bat, especially if durability remains an issue in the Bronx.
Money probably isn’t as big an issue for New York as it would be with Tampa Bay, so you can imagine there’s some flexibility to flip a deal a number of ways.
Let’s identify a few prospects that make a lot of sense for Seattle in a deal.
SP Garrett Whitlock
It should come as no surprise that Seattle would want to target pitching in a return for Encarnacion, an area still in need of depth at the minor league level. If there’s one thing New York has seemingly stockpiled, it’s arms.
Whitlock represents something akin to Erik Swanson. He’s likely a 4/5 ceiling starter, but built in the mold Dipoto enjoys.
Armed with a sinker/slider combo and plus command, Whitlock is close to being ready to contribute at the big league level. He’s a true ground-ball pitcher, crafted from a mold of Trevor Cahill. He sits low 90s with the sinker and his slider and changeup both hover in the low 80s.
A Garrett Whitlock trade would likely require Seattle send a decent chunk of change New York’s way to cover some of Encarnacion’s contract.
Currently ranked as the 18th best prospect in the Yankees system according to Baseball America, Whitlock would likely rank in the Top 12 for Seattle.
SP Osiel Rodriguez
Right out of the gates, Seattle would likely have to cover all of Encarnacion’s remaining money to make this happen. Rodriguez, just 17 years old, isn’t the highest ranked Yankees prospect, but he has a big ceiling.
Last year’s consensus #1 overall International pitching prospect, Rodriguez signed with the Yankees for a $600,000 bonus in August.
Rodriguez projects as a big arsenal guy, just so long as the command continues to develop. Already 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, he’s a big kid with a big repertoire. Sporting a mid-to-high 90s fastball, his heater already projects as a plus pitch. Couple that with a mid-70s bender and developing changeup and Rodriguez has the ceiling of a mid-to-high rotation starter.
Already been given (outlandish) comparisons to the likes of the late Jose Fernandez, he’s got a long ways to go. It’s impossible to know what he could be this early.
Rodriguez is a solid 4+ years away from making his big league debut. He is yet to pitch this year, but it wouldn’t be out of the question to see him in the Gulf Coast league, or Everett if a deal is struck.
Currently ranked as the 17th best Yankees prospect by Baseball America, Rodriguez would probably slot in to the back-half of Seattle’s Top 10.
3B Jose Villa
Villa represents a prospect Seattle could target should the Yankees decide to take on most, if not all of Encarnacíon’s current contract.
A 2016 international signing, Villa played six games in the Dominican Summer League this year. He will likely return to the Gulf Coast League next week.
At 19 years old, Villa has an advanced hit tool and consistently finds barrel. He has fantastic plate vision and discipline for his age. Having posted a .359/.413/.529 slash across Rookie Ball and the GCL in 225 plate appearances, he’s clearly got upside.
Villa should continue to grow into some more power as he develops and grows. At just 174 pounds, there’s still some filling out to do, but for right now, he’s a pull-side hitter with some gap power. He’s a below average runner with a passable arm at the hot corner. It will need improvement to play at the big league level.
Villa does not rank in Baseball America’s Top 30 prospects for New York, but should be considered a little better than a lottery ticket. There is a decent chance Villa would rank at the Bottom of Seattle’s Top 30.
Listen, deals with the Yankees are never easy, and frankly, never fun. Seattle has arguably been on the short-end of the stick more times than not. Encarnacíons represents one of Dipoto’s more valuable trade chips heading into this trade deadline period and there are a handful of teams that could conceivably use his mashing power.
Encarnacíon leads the AL in home runs right now and I’m not sure his value will get much higher than it is right now. I’d be very surprised if he wasn’t flipped before July 1, rather than the deadline of July 31.