There’s been a bit of speculation concerning designated hitter Edwin Encarnación since he came over to the Mariners in a three-team trade earlier this month. While it initially looked as though the club might flip him at the 2019 trade deadline, growing interest might force a trade even earlier. Jon Morosi of MLB Network revealed that the Rays, White Sox, and Astros have recently “shifted their focus” to the veteran slugger, though nothing concrete appears to be settled just yet.
Encarnación, of course, played his best years in Toronto before inking a three-year, $60 million deal with the Indians in advance of the 2017 season. While he no longer hits career-high marks at the plate, the 35-year-old proved a strong contender in Cleveland and finished his most recent campaign batting .246/.336/.474 with 32 home runs, an .810 OPS, and 1.0 fWAR across 579 plate appearances in 2018.
Encarnación isn’t the only name being bandied about, however, and may not even be the most attractive option for teams looking to boost their DH options this winter. Morosi adds that the Rays, White Sox, and Astros are also rumored to be “involved” in talks for Cardinals infielder José Martínez, who will get edged out of his first base spot once Paul Goldschmidt takes over in 2019. Martínez, 30, slugged a robust .305/.364/.457 with 17 home runs, an .821 OPS, and 2.3 fWAR through 590 PA in 2018; perhaps more importantly, he’s still under team control through 2022, a definite plus compared to the $20 million due Encarnación in 2019 (to say nothing of the $25 million option and $5 million buyout he holds for the 2020 season).