After picking up Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan in trades, Giants GM Brian Sabean shut the door Wednesday on the possibility of free agents Carlos Beltran and Cody Ross returning next year.
The market for Beltran has been surprisingly light, with his name rarely coming up at the winter meetings. While the focus has rightfully been on Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle, seemingly lesser outfielders like Michael Cuddyer and Josh Willingham are still getting more attention than Beltran.
Beltran, who cost the Giants their top pitching prospect in Zack Wheeler at the trade deadline, hit .323/.369/.551 in 167 at-bats for San Francisco. Overall, he hit .300/.385/.525 in 520 at-bats last season, giving him a .910 OPS. Cuddyer finished at .805, while Willingham came in at .810. Beltran is also better than either defensively.
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.