Much was said about the Blue Jays’ decision to part with long-time 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion, who ended up signing with the Indians. Encarnacion averaged nearly 40 home runs per season from 2012-16 with the Jays, so how would they replace that power?
The Jays rather quickly signed Kendrys Morales to a three-year, $33 million contract in mid-November, before the free agent market had really taken shape. Morales isn’t exactly Encarnacion’s peer at the plate, as he hit a relatively pedestrian .263/.327/.468 with 30 home runs and 93 RBI last year. Comparatively, Encarnacion hit .263/.357/.529 with 42 homers and 127 RBI.
Morales made his presence felt in a big way on Thursday evening against the Rays, homering for the first time as a Blue Jay. It came with the bases loaded in a scoreless game in the third inning, and it was a no-doubter off of Blake Snell.
Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks left Sunday’s game against the Rangers after four innings due to soreness in his right oblique. After the game, Hicks said he expects to go on the 10-day disabled list and miss the next three to four weeks, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports.
Hicks was 1-for-2 with a single before departing on Sunday. He entered the game batting .288/.397/.515 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI in 198 plate appearances. It is by far the best season of his career.
Jacoby Ellsbury is on his way back from a concussion, so the Yankees will only have to bridge the gap in center field for a week or two. Mason Williams could draw some starts in center field in the meantime.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Phillies are making third baseman Maikel Franco “more than available” in trade discussions.
Franco, 24, is having an abysmal season after showing promise in 2015 and ’16. Through 289 plate appearances, he’s hitting .221/.280/.365 with nine home runs and 37 RBI. His hitting has tanked and his already below-average defense hasn’t shown any improvement.
It’s a bit surprising that the Phillies would be so eager to move Franco with his value about as low as it can go. Franco is also under control of the rebuilding Phillies through the 2021 season, so the team doesn’t have to rush into moving him. He will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the season.
Furthermore, the Phillies don’t have an immediate replacement for Franco at third base. Andres Blanco would likely get everyday starts at the hot corner in the short-term, but as far as prospects go, there are no third baseman banging down the door. If the Phillies were to trade Franco, it would likely have to be in return for a young, talented third baseman who will be under team control for several more years.