New York Yankees Rumors: Team Interested In Signing Former Toronto Blue Jays First Baseman Edwin Encarnacion

The New York Yankees have undergone a major transformation over the last year. Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira have retired while Aroldis Chapman, Brian McCann, Ivan Nova, Carlos Beltran, and Andrew Miller have all been traded, as general manager Brian Cashman and owner Hal Steinbrenner have made a commitment to getting younger.

Despite the mass exodus, the Yankees were still able to finish with an 84-78 record last season, mostly due to the success of young players such as Gary Sanchez, who hit 20 home runs in only 201 at-bats. In addition, the trades allowed the Yankees to restock their barren farm system and give the organization a much better outlook for the future.

Heading into 2017, the lone positions that seem to be set in stone for New York are catcher, shortstop, and center field, with Sanchez, Didi Gregorius, and Jacoby Ellsbury expected to man those positions, respectively. That leaves the door open for an extremely busy offseason for Cashman and Steinbrenner as they attempt to make the Yankees championship contenders once again.

According to NJ.com, left fielder Brett Gardner and third baseman Chase Headley have been made readily available via trade. Gardner, 33, is owed $24 million over the next two seasons and also has a $12.5 million option for the 2019 season while Headley is owed $26 million over the next two seasons.

That means the New York Yankees will be searching far and wide for upgrades at a multitude of positions, and one of the names that’s been connected to the team has been former Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.

With Teixeira retiring, the Yankees need a replacement at first base, and Encarnacion could also be the designated hitter if the team would rather have a better defensive option to replace Teixeira. Encarnacion hit .263 with a .357 OBP, 42 home runs, and 127 RBIs last season as he helped lead the Blue Jays to the American League Championship Series.

Adding a player like Encarnacion would not only help to provide a boost to the Yankees’ offense, but it would also take one of the most powerful weapons away from the division rival Blue Jays. For his career, Edwin has hit .280 with a .353 OBP, 21 home runs, and 76 RBIs against the New York Yankees. Of those 21 home runs and 76 RBIs, Encarnacion has hit 15 home runs and driven in 37 runs in only 230 at-bats at Yankee Stadium during his career.

In addition to Edwin Encarnacion, the Inquisitr reported recently that the Yankees would be hot on the trails of free agent closer Aroldis Chapman. The Yankees traded Chapman to the Chicago Cubs prior to the 2016 MLB Trade Deadline, but Aroldis made it clear that he would be interested in signing with the Yankees in the offseason despite being dealt.

Chapman would once again team with Dellin Betances to form one of the most dominant bullpens in baseball, but the Yankees would still need to address the rotation. As of now, Masahiro Tanaka, C.C Sabathia, and Michael Pineda seem to be the only starters who have a rotation spot locked down for 2017. Luis Severino showed flashes out of the bullpen and could be moved into that role more permanently.

No matter what happens this offseason, the Yankees will assuredly look much different on Opening Day 2017 as opposed to 2016. The good news is that the future looks much brighter, and there’s still an opportunity to compete for a playoff spot as soon as next season with a successful offseason.

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