The New York Yankees announced today that they have declined their $20 million club option for 1B/DH Edwin Encarnación for next season. He gets a $5 million buyout and is now the newest member of the 2019-2020 free agent class.
The move is not a shocker. Encarnación, who turns 37 before the start of the 2020 season, missed most of the final two months of this season with an oblique injury. It wasn’t a bad season — he hit 34 home runs drove in 86 in only 109 games and posted a line of .244/.344/.531, splitting time between the Seattle Mariners and the Yankees, to whom he was traded in June. His age, defensive limitations and the fact that he did, after all, only play in 109 games no doubt went into the decision to cut ties.
The last few offseasons have been pretty brutal to defensively-limited sluggers in their 30s, so it’s unclear what kind of market he’ll have. Still, he profiles a relatively inexpensive power and there are a lot of American League teams who could use that, even in an age when power seems to be everywhere.