Report: Mariners still intend to trade Edwin Encarnación

Edwin Encarnacion
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The Mariners acquired DH Edwin Encarnación as part of a three-team trade that involved the Indians and Rays back in December. The Indians received Jake Bauers and Carlos Santana, the Rays got Yandy Diaz and minor leaguer Cole Sulser, and the Mariners got Encarnación, cash, and a 2019 competitive balance pick.

After winning 89 games last season, the Mariners held a fire sale, trading James Paxton to the Yankees; Alex Colomé to the White Sox; Robinson Canó and Edwin Díaz to the Mets; and Jean Segura, Juan Nicasio, and James Pazos to the Phillies. According to Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times, Encarnación could be next. The club informed him of its intention to move him after bringing him to Seattle and it seems that is still the case.

Encarnación, 36, has one year remaining on his contract at $20 million along with a 2020 club option worth $20 million with a $5 million buyout. Last season with the Indians, he hit .246/.336/.474 with 32 home runs and 107 RBI in 579 plate appearances. The Mariners could pounce on an opportunity if a 1B/DH type on another team suffers an injury during spring training.

Until the Mariners do move Encarnación, he will be the main DH and occasional first baseman with Jay Bruce, Ryon Healy, Domingo Santana, and Dan Vogelbach backing up at those positions. GM Jerry DiPoto said, “Edwin Encarnación is proven productivity. He’s gonna play on a regular basis and hopefully be a staple in that lineup that we can grow around.”

DiPoto added, “And with Vogey and Ryon Healy, both of them are still young players with a chance to grow and move forward. It will be a challenge to see how we can balance the at-bats. But there will be a rotation that we use. As we get into the season, we’ll figure out what that is.

One thing that I’ve learned over three decades in baseball is that while you think you may have depth in a certain area, it often doesn’t work out that way. We’ll let spring training — and as we move toward the regular season — tell us a story about the best way to use our player.”

Padres claim 2-time All-Star catcher Gary Sánchez off waivers from Mets

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — The scuffling San Diego Padres claimed catcher Gary Sánchez off waivers from the New York Mets.

The two-time All-Star was designated for assignment after playing in three games for the Mets. He went 1 for 6 with three strikeouts and an RBI, looking shaky at times behind the plate.

With the disappointing Padres (24-29) getting meager offensive production at catcher, they hope Sánchez can provide a boost. Austin Nola is batting .131 with three extra-base hits and a paltry .434 OPS in 39 games. His part-time platoon partner, second-stringer Brett Sullivan, is hitting .170 with four extra-base hits and a .482 OPS in 21 games since getting called up from the minors April 16.

Luis Campusano has been on the injured list since April 17 and is expected to be sidelined until around the All-Star break following left thumb surgery.

San Diego is responsible for just over $1 million in salary for Sánchez after assuming his $1.5 million, one-year contract.

The star-studded Padres have lost seven of 11 and are 3-3 on a nine-game East Coast trip. They open a three-game series at Miami.

San Diego becomes the third National League team to take a close look at the 30-year-old Sánchez this season. He spent time in the minors with San Francisco before getting released May 2 and signing a minor league contract a week later with the Mets, who were minus a couple of injured catchers at the time.

After hitting well in a short stint at Triple-A Syracuse, he was promoted to the big leagues May 19. When the Mets reinstated catcher Tomás Nido from the injured list last week, Sánchez was cut.

Sánchez’s best seasons came early in his career with the New York Yankees, where he was runner-up in 2016 AL Rookie of the Year voting and made the AL All-Star team in 2017 and 2019.

He was traded to Minnesota before the 2022 season and batted .205 with 16 homers and 61 RBIs in 128 games last year.

With the Padres, Sánchez could also be a candidate for at-bats at designated hitter, where 42-year-old Nelson Cruz is batting .245 with three homers, 16 RBIs and a .670 OPS, and 37-year-old Matt Carpenter is hitting .174 with four homers, 21 RBIs and a .652 OPS.