Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Did Seattle know something about Encarnacion?

The lopsided deal that exiled Kendrys Edwin Encarnacion to the Yankee Death Star last month made no sense. We obtained the league-leading HR hitter for a Single-A pitcher whose last name - Juan Then - when used to connect two sentences, is a conjunctive adverb. And the grim reality of Single-A pitchers is that farm systems chew them up and spit them out like sunflower seeds. Also, it was cathartic just to get the Great Encarnacion off our backs; over the years, to us, he was the frickin' Babadook.

And lately, hmmm, maybe he still is. 

Okay, I know what you're thinking: Yeesh, give the guy a break; he's barely been a Yankee for two weeks. And I agree: it's too early to dial Nanny 9-1-1 on Encarnacion, who still looks good coming off the bus. Also, with Luke Voit icing his love handles for the next 10 days, Edwin has a fine window to get himself straight. Still, watching him fan six times against Boston in the pinball series - and twice last night - flailing at pitches that practically landed in New Jersey - it's worth wondering W.T.F? Did Seattle knew what it was doing, when it launched its official 2019 tank plan by jettisoning Kendrys Edwin? 

Thus far, Encar has done the impossible: He's hit worse than Kendrys Morales (a .149 average, vs. .177, respectively). He has fanned 17 times in 47 at-bats. His 3 HRs have plated six runners. Pathetic. He moves like one of those tanks Trump wants for his parade. If his name was Mike Ford, he'd be gone by now to the land of Rolling Rock. For the year, overall - age 36 - he's hitting, gulp, .226. 

Over the last three years, his production has, gulp, gulp, steadily fallen. 

2016: .263, 42, 126
2017: .257, 38, 107
2018: .246, 32, 107


Encarnacion built his rep in the early teens, hitting for average and power. Those days, gulp, gulp, gulp, are, gulp, gone. 

Of course, this could merely be "Welcome to NY" Syndrome. He might heat up and then (see there?, a conjunctive adverb when connecting two sentences!) win AL Player of the Week! (He did it last June with Cleveland.) But last night's game ended with Brett Gardner flailing at a 3-2 pitch outside the strike zone, with Mike Ford in the on-deck circle. Call me delusional, but I'd convinced myself that if Ford came to the plate - he homered earlier this season against the Mets - we'd win that game. Yep, I've got Prospect Fever!

But damn... the Yankees achieved praise and glory this spring by giving no-names a chance in the big city. Luke Voit has become a working man's hero, and Gio Urshela a breath of fresh air. Even Gary Sanchez signifies something the old-line Yankees seldom allowed: Redemption. I just hope that sitting cozy in first doesn't change their mentality, and that we don't start collecting veterans who are long past their sell-by dates. 

Will we ever see Clint Frazier in pinstripes again? 

Will Ford, who was tearing up the International League, get a decent shot? 

Obviously, we will spend the month of July waiting on Encarnacion. But the trouble with slumping old sluggers is that - well - it might not be a slump. We saw it with Kendrys Morales. Over the years, we've seen it a lot. Can we get back to "Next Man Up?" Because damn, that was fun. And right now, watching Encarnacion isn't. 

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

His defense gaaaaaaaaaa!!!! Came off the bag on 1 play cause he couldn't stretch 2 feet and the scoop on the other cost LeMaheiu an error and the game imo.

Mediasavvy said...

Trading for Encarnacion was a complete head scratcher. Voit already solved 1st base to the tune of All Star contention. 25 and making league minimum beats 36 and costing millions. Neither will make us forget Texiera's defense. Best answer I heard is that the Yankees traded for him to block the Rays (or another rival) from picking him up.

Still, Encarnacion seems to be one of the reasons Seattle tanked so quickly. Thank god we don't depend on him for offense.

I'm actually far more interested in seeing Ford earn his shot at the majors. The Yankee youth movement has been the best thing to happen to this team since Jeter and company came up. I think having one or more rookies breaking out every year is incredibly exciting and provides momentum and energy to game outcomes.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Trading for Encarnacion was a blocking move. Not sure it was worth blocking the guys they already had. I am still holding out hope he comes up with a few key home runs. Batting out of the 9th spot.

Anonymous said...

I GUESS THIS YANKEE TEAM HAS NO USE FOR A HITTER THAT IS BATTING OVER .400 WITH RUNNERS IN SCORING POSITION....

CLINT.

INTERESTING.

Retired Stratman said...

“Luke Voit icing his love handles” - geez, Duque, you made me snort coffee through my nose.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Yes—and I loved the grammar lesson involving Juan Then and Now!

HoraceClarke66 said...

Mediasavvy, I think the "idea"—if one can use such a word to describe anything to do with Coops' rat-like machinations—was to deal The Red Menace for the proverbial Power Arm, play Giancarlo regularly in left, and make Encarnacion the regular DH.

Sounds like a plan...doomed to failure in about another week, before Stanton—always an overachiever—managed to take himself out for the rest of the year with a bad slide into third.

The question now, of course, is what The Hawk Walker has left. Old ballplayers tend to go bad the way the Fitzgeralds supposedly went broke: Slowly at first, then all at once. (Actually, that's supposed to have been derived from a Hemingway novel.)

I suspect that Encarnacion will give us just enough flashes of the past—mostly against tomato cans, of course—to keep him on the team for the rest of the season.

And I suspect that Clint will be back up when Coops finds he can't even get an imitation of a Power Arm for him.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Oh, and Anon, I think you're very right.

That was a major gaffe by Ma Boone last night.

Up 2-1 in the top of the seventh, Ma pinch-hits Gio for Paxton. He lines out.

Fine—BUT THEN (or, Juan Then), stick Gio into the game at third and move LeMahieu to first, maximizing your defense out there, and put the new pitcher in Encarnacion's slot.

Instead, Boone left Encarnacion in, hoping for an insurance blast, I guess. Since we weren't playing in the Bandbox in the Bronx, a mistake.

Carl J. Weitz said...

Yeah, Encarnacion may be washed up andropping fast. Still, that 2018 line of .246, 32, 107 is better than at least half the Yankee hitters from 2010-2018. And he is leading the AL in home runs.

JM said...

Encarnacion...yeah, I dunno. I might have gone to Wally Cox to block, but this might work out.

Hoss, it's a falcon, not a hawk. If you consult your Imaginary Birds of North America, you'll see the difference plainly.

Personally, I find that habit of Eddie's really annoying. At least Salvador Dali walked a real lobster down 5th Avenue. If a real falcon swooped down and landed on his upraised arm as he trotted slowly around the bases, I'd be into it. But this...oy.

Anonymous said...

Blocking move? That's absurd. Worry about your OWN roster, not somebody else's. The only blocking that was done with this dumbass acquisition was preventing Clint Frazier from continuing to thrive as a major league player. Cashman's well established preference for aging, fading veterans over rising young players is sabotaging the confidence of one of the team's best young prospects in a decade, and is placing a lead weight on the offense.

Now that Morales is gone, Encarnacion is the leading contender for this year's Chase Healey Memorial Trophy.

HoraceClarke66 said...

JM, that's hilarious—and a great idea!

I think they should train that silly eagle they used to trot out for George's patriotic extravaganzas to swoop down and land on his arm. Now THAT'S entertainment!

(You remember the eagle? The one they used to bring out along with the police tenor who sang, "God Bless, America"? Until, of course, it was revealed that the tenor was a crazy anti-Semite. And that Kate Smith was a racist.

(The eagle, I have it on good authority, loves and respects birds and humans of all nationalities, and was deeply offended at having to work with such individuals.)

But I digress!

I thought it was a falcon, too, JM—hence my "Things fall apart" joke during the trip to EuroFenway. But I'm told it's a hawk, no matter what the IBONA says.

Another alternative would be to say it's a parrot.

That way, every time EE homers, a batboy could quickly fix him up with one of those pirate do-rags, an eye patch, a fake hook, and a stuffed parrot. Encarnacion could then circle the bases growling, "Arrrr, avast ye maties!" while "The Pirate's Life for Me" played over the PA, and the fans rose as one and screamed, "Piece of eight! Pieces of eight!"

Hey, it's just a suggestion.

JM said...

I stand or sit corrected. I like the pirate idea. That would be great.

HoraceClarke66 said...

"Yo-ho-yo-ho the pirate's life for me!"

Or as Yogi would sing:

"Yoo-hoo yoo-hoo the soft drink made for me!"

Getting really punchy now, in anticipation of Pence's on-air debut.