With the New York Yankees failing to reach the coveted World Series after a season with over 100 wins, they must find the weaknesses on the team and begin to diagnose the issues currently present. One of the question marks heading into the offseason is at first base, where the Yankees feature Luke Voit, Edwin Encarnacion, and Mike Ford.
Voit, who finished the season batting .263 with 21 homers, missed the latter portion of the season due to a sports hernia injury. The ailment inevitably forced him out of postseason play as he watched on from the bench. The Yankees could have used his power throughout the ALCS against the Houston Astros, but clearly, he was not capable of playing at a high level, even though he managed to convince team doctors he could play if needed.
The first baseman was on a one-year, $573K salary, which might have been the reason he was so excited to be a part of the active postseason roster. This might have been his final chance at playing for a playoff-caliber team, but the Bombers would be smart to bring him back on a cheap deal. Hitting 21 homers goes along with the Yankees’ mantra, and he can be a reliable designated hitter, given his defensive qualities don’t improve.
Does Edwin Encarnacion have a future with the New York Yankees?
As for Edwin Encarnacion, his services were purely situational. Adding a big-time slugger to the lineup for a late-season push was the reason behind his trading. The Yankees will undoubtedly activate his $5 million buy-out to avoid paying $20 million for his bat in 2020. This will force the Yankees to wither stick with Voit or fall back on Mike Ford.
Ford, who hit .259 on 12 homers last season, saw his first major league action in a stellar campaign for the Yankees. The team fought through injuries, and Ford played a significant part in supplementing the loss of Voit and Encarnacion at times. He can undoubtedly be the first baseman for the future if the Yankees believe he can be a consistent option. He has the power and strikeout rate to be a quality player.
Comparable to Encarnacion, Ford struck out far less. Over 143 at-bats, Ford struck out just 28 times, while Edwin missed the ball 48 times over 177 at-bats. With only one year of experience under his belt, Ford can develop into a reliable player.