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Mariners trade Edwin Encarnación to Yankees, re-acquire RHP Juan Then

Edwin Encarnación leaves the Mariners as the American League leader with 21 home runs. (AP)

OAKLAND, Calif – Edwin Encarnación’s tenure with the Mariners has come to an end.

The Mariners and Yankees have agreed to a trade that sends Encarnación and cash considerations to the Yankees in exchange for 19-year-old pitching prospect Juan Then. The trade was confirmed by both teams Saturday night following reports earlier in the evening.

Drayer: Encarnación’s unexpected Mariners tenure is worth appreciating

Encarnación, 36, heads to New York as the American League leader in home runs with 21. He is owed just over $12 million dollars for the remainder of the current season and is under contract in 2020 for $20 million or a $5 million club buyout. The Mariners are expected to be sending a substantial portion of the remaining salary to the Yankees.

Encarnación was acquired by Seattle on December 13, 2018 as part of a three-way trade that sent Carlos Santana to the Indians. The Mariners also picked up a competitive balance pick and $5 million in the deal. The team had hoped to trade Encarnación before the season began, but a market never materialized.

Then, 19, is a right-handed starting pitcher originally signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Mariners in 2016. He pitched as a 17-year-old for the franchise’s Dominican Summer League team in 2017 but was traded Nov. 18, 2017 along with fellow pitching prospect J.P. Sears to New York for reliever Nick Rumbelow. He has been in extended spring training with the Yankees preparing for short-season rookie ball, making him a likely member of the short-season Everett AquaSox at some point this year.

In 11 starts last year with the Yankees’ affiliate in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League, Then went 0-3 with a 2.70 ERA and league-leading 0.98 WHIP, striking out 42 and walking 11 in 50 innings. He was also third in opponent batting average (.210).

Listed at 6-foot-1 and 155 pounds, Then was ranked as the No. 27 prospect in the Yankees system by MLB Pipeline. Then has a fastball that can range from 90 to 95 mph, features a change-up and a curveball with “promising depth” and has above-average command for his age, according to his MLB Pipeline bio.

In recent days Daniel Vogelbach has been making more starts at first base for the Mariners, partly due Encarnación dealing with a back issue. But with the trades of Encarnación and Jay Bruce, Seattle’s logjam at first and designated hitter has been alleviated. With Ryon Healy currently on the injured list with continuing back problems, it would appear Vogelbach will have ample time to get comfortable at the position. editor Brent Stecker contributed to this report.

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