Yesterday Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan reported that Joe Mauer had imposed an Opening Day deadline on extension talks with the Twins. Mauer’s response? Wha?!
“I’m not going to react to every story/rumor that comes out or comment
on any negotiations. As far as that report, I don’t know where that
came from . . . I’ve always said it will happen when it needs to happen and I truly
believe that. I’m not
the kind of guy that, you know, says by this date we need to have
Hard to say how this stuff happens. My guess: either Passan or his source — described as “a source close to the American League Most Valuable Player” — confused Mauer’s understandable desire or reasonable expectation to have something done before Opening Day with a demand that something be done then. This sort of thing happens when you’re essentially playing a game of telephone, which is more or less what all rumor reporting is.
Regardless, no one has denied last week’s report that the Twins are going to go all out to re-sign Mauer, likely before Christmas. With the new stadium and the MVP and his local boy status and all of that, it’s a no-brainer.
The Mariners are in the midst of reconstructing their roster, a process which most recently resulted in the trade of first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnación to the Yankees, per a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan. While the teams have yet to publicly confirm the deal, the Mariners are expected to receive pitching prospect Juan Then and will likely eat a significant portion of Encarnación’s salary as well.
Encarnación is a sizable get for the Yankees, who could benefit from the veteran’s power and consistency in their ongoing drive toward the postseason. The 36-year-old infielder missed some time with a bout of lower back tightness, dental issues, and soreness in his left hand, but has still maintained a decent .241/.356/.531 batting line with an AL-best 21 home runs, an .888 OPS, and 1.7 fWAR through his first 289 plate appearances of the year. Per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, Encarnación has another $11-12 million left on his contract in 2019, with a $20 million option for the 2020 season and a $5 million buyout.
Then, 19, was acquired by the Yankees in a three-person trade with the Mariners during the 2017 offseason. The right-hander currently ranks no. 27 in the Yankees’ system and made his last pro ball appearance for New York’s rookie-level affiliate in 2018, pitching to a 2.70 ERA, 2.0 BB/9, and 7.6 SO/9 across 50 innings. It’s not clear if any other players are involved in the trade, though USA Today’s Bob Nightengale notes that no other prospects are thought to be included in the package for Encarnación.