An official decision won’t have to be made until later this week, but Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the Diamondbacks are unlikely to exercise their $7.5 million option on first baseman Adam LaRoche for 2011.
Back in September both LaRoche and the team expressed interest in working out a contract extension, but that was before Kevin Towers took over for Jerry Dipoto as general manager and now Piecoro writes that the Diamondbacks are likely “to direct their available revenue toward pitching and the bench.”
LaRoche hit .261/.320/.468 with 25 homers, 37 doubles, and 100 RBIs this season, more or less duplicating his career marks while earning $4.5 million. If the Diamondbacks decline his $7.5 million option they’ll owe him a $1.5 million buyout.
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.