Once upon a time Julio Borbon looked like he might be the Rangers’ long-term answer in center field, but he fell behind Leonys Martin and Craig Gentry on the depth chart and today they designated the former first-round pick for assignment.
Borbon is still just 27 years old and actually fared pretty well at Triple-A last season, hitting .304 with 10 homers, 20 steals, and a .783 OPS in 126 games. He’s also held his own reasonably well in the majors, batting .283 with a .681 OPS in 216 games, although he hasn’t played regularly in the big leagues since 2010.
He no longer looks like a starting-caliber player, but a speedy 27-year-old center fielder with a decent track record should draw some trade interest or at least get scooped up off the waiver wire quickly.
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.