Monday, December 19, 2016

Encarnacion's price is said to be plummeting, and the Yankees can't even think about it

Good things come to those who wait...

That's the mantra this Xmas, whether you're a Trump, a Putin or a Steinbrenner, and some lucky MLB fan base is about to find one whopping, big-ass gift - the giant, atomic-breathed lizard known as Edwin Encarnacion - under its fur tree. Aint gonna be us. Our holiday is spelled with two L's - as in Matt. We have no opening for baseball's best slugger. Weird, huh? Call Mr. Ripley.

Encarnacion - the guy most likely to have propelled us to to a wild card - remains unsigned, and the courtier press is speculating that he blew it by not taking a 4-year, $80 million deal offered by the Jays last fall. Toronto quickly moved on to Kendry Morales and the cheap-but-also-old Steve Pearce, and now the "big market teams" are supposedly out of the Encarnacion auction. (Out of tradition and the last vestiges of our self-image, I am considering the Yankees to be a "big market team.") He might end up accepting a measly three-year deal... chickenfeed, eh? - a contract that might even have been palatable to Food Stamps Hal. Oh, well... too little, too late.

Listen: I'm not squawking that we blew it with Encarnacion. For starters, I don't buy the speculation that his value has gone down the chimney. No narrative brings more Christmas joy to cynical sportswriters than the thought of an arrogant, super-rich jock shooting himself in the wallet. My bet is EE gets four years and the state of Delaware. Secondly, it's merely a parlor game to ponder the Yankees signing him. We didn't want to forfeit our first-round draft pick or lash ourselves to yet another whale who would be pushing 39 at the end of his deal. Matt Holliday - one year at $13 million - will fill the holes until Aaron Judge and Clint Frazier are ready - assuming they ever will be.

Still, the giant lizard remains on the loose, and in the end, we are probably going to be the ones who get stomped into fairy dust. Encarnacion was always more likely to stick in the AL - (Hint: His defensive skills are at DH) - and whatever team that signs him will compete with us for the wild card. Baltimore, Seattle, Kansas City - (even, gulp, Boston?) - would be enormously upgraded by a guy who has spent his entire career killing the Yankees. To me, the Mariners look like the most probably destination. They have to win something before Joginson Cano turns into a pumpkin. 

Besides, no matter how inexpensive Encarnacion gets, from the mealy-mouthed whimperings that have been emanating out of Death Star Tampa, it's clear that the Yankees have buried their checkbook for the winter. From now on, they're paying cash and Scranton Walmart gift certificates. But brace yourselves, everyone: Encarnacion is still out there, and all we can do is watch.


Anonymous said...


JM said...

I dunno. I don't think the Yanks wanted to sign anyone to a big, multi-year contract on the offensive side. I'm probably being too kind to the scrambled eggs that pass for brains among the Yankees brain trust, but the idea seemed to be a one-year deal to someone who could provide a little pop while we figure out if the kids have the pop we'll need beyond this year. Or maybe it's just that the team did what I would've done. The last thing we need is a three- or four-year contract for a lot of money to a guy who will likely begin to lose skills as soon as the ink is dry, and will proceed to clog up and reduce flexibility on the line-up card.

I know, I know...and now I'm giving Joey Binders more credit than he deserves, too...

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