The New York Yankees decided to trade for Edwin Encarnacion before the trade deadline during the 2019 regular season, and he produced nicely for the team until the postseason rolled around. He finished with 13 homers and 33 RBIs over 44 games with the Bombers, helping them seal clutch victories on numerous occasions.
However, the Yankees let him walk in free agency after his .056 batting average in the ALCS against the Houston Astros. The sole purpose of bringing him to the Bronx was to maximize his home runs totals, which the Yankees prefer for their hitters considering their home-run centric mentality. He fit the mold perfectly as a designated hitter and first base supplement. Injuries did hurt his consistency.
Who can the Yankees pursue to replace him?
Finding a capable slugger to help the DH position should be a priority beyond signing star pitcher Gerrit Cole, who inked a nine-year, $324 million deal with the Yanks.
One exciting option is Kyle Schwarber, who clocked 38 homers in 2019. Last week, Ken Rosenthal reported that the Yankees and Chicago Cubs had discussed the possibility of Schwarzer coming to the Bronx. The 26-year-old left fielder serves a specific purpose, and while his defense isn’t noteworthy, his offensive production is exactly with GM Brian Cashman is looking for.
With six outfielders already on the roster, though, trading for him would require an additional move — possibly the trading of Clint Frazier.
Schwarber slashed .250/.339/.531 in 2019 with a .817 OPS and 120 wRC+. The Yankees have had success extracting quality from average hitters, and with Kyle’s power, there’s plenty of room to improve, especially in the contact department.
The reality is, Schwarber would fit perfectly with the Bombers’ lineup, as he ranked among the league’s best in barrel percentage, expected slugging percentage, and exit velocity. He also finished in the top 1% in hard-hit rate. His influence in an already power-packed lineup would be intimidating for opposing pitchers.