Can Edwin Encarnacion pitch?
Kidding, kidding. And you had best be kidding if you pose the same question.
Of course the Yankees’ surprise acquisition of the American League home run leader Encarnacion from the Mariners doesn’t cure their starting rotation woes, just as a much-needed, 8-4 bullpen victory over the White Sox on Saturday night at Guaranteed Rate Field (worst ballpark name ever) doesn’t end their general malaise — though it does put them back atop the American League East thanks to the Rays’ 5-3 loss to the Angels.
But if this starting-pitching trade market isn’t ready to uncork — and since the Yankees fell short in their pursuit of Dallas Keuchel — then you get better how you can each day.
And the addition of Encarnacion, who will essentially replace Brett Gardner in the starting lineup once Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton return from the injured list in the next week or so (barring setbacks), clearly makes the Yankees better.
“There’s always room for good players,” said a grinning Aaron Boone, who couldn’t discuss the trade specifically because the Yankees hadn’t announced it yet; they announced it after the team returned to its hotel.
Many teams and fans would prefer to win by playing crisp, all-around baseball. Nevertheless, if your personnel doesn’t afford for such a style, then bludgeoning must do the trick. And with the scheduled imports to their lineup, which has more than held its own despite Judge and Stanton being out for the majority of the campaign, the Yankees will be positioned for some major bludgeoning.