Someone asked David Ortiz about Alex Rodriguez’s unexpectedly excellent 2015 season. His response seemed pretty passive-aggressive, no?
“It is what it is,” Ortiz said before the Yankees blew out the Red Sox, 13-3, Tuesday night at the Stadium. “The guy is playing the right way now — as far as we know. He’s having a good season and doing the right thing. I guess that deserves credit . . . He’s having a good season,” Ortiz said. “Me, personally, I thought having a year off and getting older was something that would affect you, but he looks good to me.”
Of course Ortiz has some reason to be less than effusive in his praise for A-Rod given their little beef, borne of Ortiz’s displeasure at A-Rod’s lawyer dropping Ortiz’s name during the Biogenesis stuff.
I am amused by the way Ortiz put this — cattiness is always fun — but it’s not like Ortiz is wrong here, at least if he’s not being super sarcastic. Every player is clean “as far as we know.” And they are until they’re shown not to be. It’s when we get into the guessing games and baseless accusations that we run into trouble.
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.