Whether it was the 2015 or 2016 ALDS, Edwin Encarnacion was a postseason thorn in the Rangers’ side. So what if he became a Ranger?
Despite rumors of being shipped to the White Sox, Rays, or other Texas team, he hasn’t been and it makes you wonder. Maybe the latter three plain aren’t interested in him. But if the Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels ever showed interest in Edwin Encarnacion, he may be a good fit for our division rivals.
It takes no baseball genius to know that due to the Arlington air, the Rangers have been a home run-heavy team forever. If Encarnacion torched a solo home run (above) against them in the playoffs, imagine what he’d do as a home player. His home run rate for them could be through the roof.
Just because the Rangers’ have had two straight losing seasons doesn’t at all mean they’re in a rebuild like our Mariners. Key veterans are still there in Andrus, Odor, Choo, and Mazara. A playoff run with those guys is doable. The Rangers are also about to hurt big time as they approach the post-Beltre era. Despite Beltre being a better contact hitter and overall player than Encarnacion, he can sure hit homers a long way.
You may ask why the heck would the Rangers want a guy with just one year left on his Indians contract anyway? Because once again, the Rangers should look to supplement for Beltre any which way and if Encarnacion impresses, they could afford to extend him with their 11th-ranked 2019 payroll (Spotrac).
Despite approaching baseball old at 35 years, Encarnacion could be just the veteran to turn the Rangers back into a contender. Recent history has shown resilience by this club as they quickly jumped from the AL West’s worst to first in 2014 and 2015. Rangers fans, your window may not be closed after all. And farm-system wise, this trade would make sense for the Mariners since the Rangers had the 15th-best farm post-2018 and therefore have young guys to dish out to teams in need.
On our team’s side, rumors clearly point to us dealing Edwin before season’s start. But which Rangers players would help add to our 2019 rebuild? With the exception of Mitch (for now), every 2018 outfielder is gone so the Mariners need more of those. A baby Ranger who comes to mind is outfielder Scott Heineman.
Heineman displayed more plate patience with a jump from 2.76 to 3.92 in his first Minors stint. Speed is there as well as he posted eight three-baggers in only his first Minor League season! On top of that, 30 stolen bases in one Minor League season isn’t too slow as well.
Let’s compare him to our former outfielder, Ben Gamel. Ben was no Edgar with speed but he never reached 30 stolen bases and his Minors stint was shorter than Heineman’s. And oh yeah, Heineman has nine outfield assists in just three Major League seasons. Ben Gamel posted 12 but had a six-season headstart on Heineman.
Should it be a concern that Heineman underwent foot surgery right after the Rangers chose him? Sure, but no baseball player is truly safe from injuries and it’s worth taking risks. But doesn’t Heineman’s hitting scouting report sound Ben Gamel-like if not better? What about “spectacular offensive production” or “quickness to his swing that has translated into gap power”? How often are Mariner fans used to seeing consistent gap hitters during home games? Not often.
One has to also admire Heineman’s versatility as well. Remember that part about the 2018 Mariners outfield being completely turned over? Well, Heineman’s report tells of “range and arm strength to play all three outfield spots.” The Mariners need that being on the lighter side of outfielders currently. If Jon Daniels sent Heineman away, he wouldn’t hurt too much since he was the Rangers’ 24th-ranked overall prospect last year yet still had four outfielders above him.