The White Sox are a fun baseball team to watch again. Sure they’ll throw up some stinkers. Sure they may flirt with .500 all year long yet never get there. But the young pieces that figure to be a part of the core moving forward are all playing well in 2019. It wouldn’t completely shock me if they decide to become buyers at the deadline assuming they’re still in the hunt for a wild card spot. One target I could see them going after is Seattle Mariners slugger Edwin Encarnacion.
Encarnacion, although older (36 years old) is still showing that he can be productive. So far this year he is slashing /.246/.360/.542. He has 21 home runs (the most in the A.L.), 49 RBI, and a 1.8 WAR so far. This year is also the last year on his contract (he does has a club option for 2020).
After their catastrophic collapse after a scorching hot start, the Mariners have made it known that they will be willing to send anyone and everyone on their team elsewhere for young assets.
The White Sox have more than enough cap space to make it work if just for a year. Plus it would allow them to DFA Yonder Alonso, which is something every Sox fan would be able to get behind.
Encarnacion would be an instant upgrade over Alonso and would help solidify the middle of the order. But while it’s interesting to think about, the Sox probably wouldn’t make a move for a rental like this unless they are still right in the thick of the wild card race by the time the trade deadline rolls around. And given Encarnacion’s age and contract, its safe to say he wouldn’t cost much to acquire, even with the solid season he’s having. I think a fair package could be something like the Sox taking on half of the 20M Encarnacion is owed (maybe even more than that) and someone like Blake Rutherford. Suddenly the middle of the Sox lineup is Encarnacion-Jimenez-McCann. That’s much more serviceable, especially with the way Eloy has been playing as of late.
The White Sox are about to enter their toughest part of the schedule all year with games against the Yankees, Cubs, Rangers, Red Sox, and Twins. If they can get through that and still be close to a wild card, I think they become buyers. Whether Encarnacion is a target is still unknown, but it would be a good fit for the rest of 2019.