The Yankees' acquisition of Edwin Encarnacion was fraught with analysis, hot takes and question marks. The number one thing that Yankees fans want to know is simple: How can Edwin Encarnacion help the Yankees this year?
Encarnacion has been around the block awhile at 36 years old, but that doesn't mean he's toast. In fact, quite the opposite. The right-handed slugger leads the American League in home runs this year with 21, and has more RBI than any member of the Yankees.
In fact, Encarnacion's dominance stretches back longer than some may realize. Nobody has more home runs this decade than Encarnacion (322), and nobody has more RBI (813) than him since 2012.
Yankees fans likely know Encarnacion best from his eight years as a Blue Jay, where he staked his claim as a premier slugger with several clutch moments, including a walk-off home run in the 2016 AL Wild Card game. He has an .804 OPS in late/close situations for his career and an .875 OPS with runners in scoring position, so the Yankees can expect Encarnacion to come through in big moments.
Most encouragingly, Encarnacion's metric profile shows no signs of decline over the last few years. His walk rate, isolated power, hard-hit percentage and exit velocity are all above-average and in line with his five-year norms. His strikeout rate has gotten slightly higher over time, but his 19 percent K-rate would still be the fifth-best figure on the 2019 Yankees.
While the Yankees are already very heavy on right-handed sluggers, Encarnacion doesn't really have a noticeable platoon split. He bats for a higher average against righties, but displays more power against lefties. He'll have plenty of opportunities to drive in runs batting in the middle of the Yankees' order, and his numbers say there's no reason to think that he won't be able to contribute against all pitchers.
Encarnacion will spend most of his time at designated hitter, but can also play some first base. He's no Gold Glove fielder, but he's good enough to give Luke Voit an occasional rest.
Even his contract situation isn't bad - the Yankees are only paying a portion of his salary and the team controls his future with a club option for next season.
Encarnacion checks all the boxes for the Yankees. No, the team didn't necessarily need more power, but at the same time, adding more good players is never a bad thing. He is still at the top of his game as a hitter, making it a slick trade for GM Brian Cashman.
There's almost no way this trade can hurt the Yankees.