The Seattle Mariners may be done with their heavy lifting this off-season. However, they still have some pricey veterans to move, and according to Jon Morosi, Edwin Encarnacion could be the next to go.
Nobody who has paid any attention to the Mariners off-season should be surprised by this revelation. But Morosi had specific details, which seem to indicate that Encarnacion will not ever put on a Mariners uniform.
According to Morosi, the Mariners are now “increasingly confident” that they will move Encarnacion before Spring Training. Morosi also mentioned 3 teams as having the most interest in the former Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians slugger.
The 3 teams specifically mentioned are the Houston Astros, Tampa Bay Rays, and Chicago White Sox. Perhaps the most surprising of the trio is the White Sox. Chicago already has Jose Abreu and traded for first baseman Yonder Alonso earlier this month. With first base and DH covered, the interest seems a bit odd.
Perhaps the White Sox were just hoping that Alonso could help lure free agent Manny Machado to Chicago, but now they may be stuck with him. Or perhaps he would be involved in the package to help even out the money in such a swap.
The Rays were reportedly interested in acquiring Encarnacion prior to the 3-team deal that sent him to Seattle. After pursuing former Mariner Nelson Cruz to fill their DH slot who ultimately signed with the Twins, the Rays are back in the market for a DH.
While the Rays have the payroll flexibility to afford Encarnacion, they are also interested in Jose Martinez, who just makes more sense for the younger Rays team. The Astros are also looking for a DH, and are reportedly interested in the slugger. We profiled a potential deal to Houston earlier this month.
In any scenario, the Mariners would have to eat a sizeable portion of Encarnacion’s contract to facilitate a deal. While Seattle will not likely be able to recoup a “big name prospect” in such a deal, it would, nonetheless free up money and add a lottery ticket to an improving system.