Sunday, December 4, 2016
Posted by el duque at 7:24 AM
The Redsocks are already faves in the AL East. Encarnacion would instantly, seamlessly replace Big Papi, maybe even outhit him. It's hard to imagine the 2017 Yankees toppling them and it's easy to picture Boston winning three straight divisional titles. Fuckin-A.
But is that reason enough to lash ourselves for five years to a DH who will be 40 at the end - especially after our esteemed boy owner has now gone four years blaming his mediocrity on just such deals?
If we sign Encarnacion... we lose our first pick in next June's draft. Last summer, we chose Blake Rutherford. He's already considered untouchable by our scouts. Two years ago, we took James Kaprielian. He remains our top starting hope. Three years ago - drafting in the second round, because we'd lost our pick - we selected Jacob Lindgren. This week, we waived him. If we give up our top picks, we give up all pretenses of a long-term strategy. And for the record, the one we launched last August will have lasted exactly five months. This is why we compare our owner to Dan Quayle.
If we sign Encarnacion... he'll play every day at 1B or DH for five years. That's 2,500 at bats that our youngsters will not get. Next spring, it means Greg Bird will lose playing time. He could end up platooning. Wasn't he going to get a shot as 1B of the future? Simultaneously, the probational try-out period for Aaron Judge will shrink. We hope Judge is the real deal but won't know until July. By then, if he's not hitting, would we trade him and cross our its fingers that the biggest make-or-break Yankee prospect in this millennium doesn't become a star in another city? With Encarnacion, we will seek to win now. We won't have the luxury of letting Clint Frazier, Tyler Austin, Mason Williams, etc prove themselves.
If we sign Encarnacion... we will have quickly forgotten the dark side of long term contracts, which dragged down the last three Yankee teams. Last year, despite the failings of Tex and A-Rod, they could not be pried from the center of our lineup. Then there is the albatross in CF, whom we will have for four more years and who could force the trading of Brett Gardner. It will be the same old, same old, same old Yankees.
If we sign Encarnacion... well, yeah... at least Boston won't. They would likely move on to sign Matt Holliday or someone else, for one or two years. And they would still be odds-on faves to win the 2016 AL East. We have one true hope: That 2019-2022 will bring a new era of Yankee stars. Do we really see Encarnacion, age 40, anchoring those teams?