Dan Szymborski — who I will call “Baseball Think Factory’s Dan Szymborski” even though he’s writing this piece for ESPN Insider — has a good column up today. In it he breaks down playoff performance by players with “playoff experience,” which we are told by so many commentators matters this time of year.
Of course, if Dan had found that playoff experience matters, he probably just would have chucked the column on the basis of no one wanting to read a dog-bites-man story. His conclusion is contrary to that, however:
In summary, while having playoff experience never will actually hurt a player or a team, it’s generally a non-factor relative to the skills of a team or a player. Put the best team on the field and hope they have a better game than your opponent — isn’t that the way it ought to be?
So there goes one more argument for believing that A.J. Burnett will be dominant tonight. Pity.
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.