The New York Yankees are rumored to be showing interest in free agent sluggers Edwin Encarnacion and Carlos Beltran as they look to get back into contention for the NL East top spot for the 2017 season.
Both players would add to a Yankees roster that was depleted last season either by injuries or trades. The Yankees also need a veteran bat in their lineup to replace the retired Mark Teixeira, who struggled mightily last season.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweeted this about the Yankees showing interest in Beltran.
There is also this tweet from Chris Cotillo of MLB.com about the Astros and their pursuit of Beltran as well.
This past season, the Yankees finished fourth in the NL East at 84-78, nine games back of the eventual division champion, the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees last made the postseason in 2015 in the AL Wild Card game. New York last won a postseason series in 2012, so a bat like Beltran or Encarnacion would be more than a welcome sight for the Yankees.
With Beltran, the Yankees would receive a player who is already accustomed to playing in New York, as he played for the New York Mets for parts of seven seasons, and at one time even with the Yankees for 341 games from 2014-16. The Yankees traded Beltran to the contending Texas Rangers last August for three minor leaguers.
Beltran, 39, finished last season with a batting average of .295 with 29 home runs and 93 RBIs. Even at his advanced age, Beltran could give the Yankees the veteran experience they’ll need in their clubhouse next season, because they are a younger team, and eventually the prospects they traded for last year will be making their way up to the big league roster.
Now for Encarnacion and his chances to sign with the Yankees. Encarnacion is six years younger than Beltran, and last season with the Blue Jays, he finished with a batting average of .267 but led the Majors with 127 RBIs on a Toronto team that had great power at the plate.
What Encarnacion would bring to the Yankees is a player his teammates can depend on each and every day. Encarnacion played in 160 regular-season games last season, and since 2011, he played in no less than 128 games. In that same span, he’s played in 140 or more games four times, which is something the Yankees could really use.
There is also another player on the free agent market the Yankees could bring back to their roster after trading him last year, and that is closer Aroldis Chapman. It has been rumored the Yankees won’t “break the bank” to have him return to the roster.
In the rumors of Chapman being a Yankees closer again, George King III of the New York Post wrote this of the possibility of a reunion this offseason between the two parties, especially with now the new CBA being in place.
“If a new CBA is adopted, expect the Yankees to be the front-runner to land Chapman and bring the aspirin-throwing lefty closer back to The Bronx, unless he really is looking for five years and $100 million.”
With the Yankees last season, he had a 2.01 ERA in 31 appearances. Chapman finished with 20 saves in his stint with the Yankees, which amounted to 31.1 innings.
The Yankees will eventually start making deals for players they see can make improvements to their roster. The question is if the Yankees will chase after a soon-to-be 40-year-old in Beltran or go after a power hitter like Encarnacion, who has proven over his career he’s reliable and consistent at the plate.
Chapman is the best closer in the majors when used properly, and the Yankees do need to work on their bullpen.
There is a lot to be done this offseason, and if any team will make things interesting, it will be the 27-time World Series champion Yankees.
[Featured Image by Al Bello/Getty Images]