The Yankees declined to pick up Edwin Encarnación's $20 million club option for 2020, the team announced on Thursday, making the veteran slugger a free agent. New York will have to pay Encarnación a $5 million buyout as part of his contract.
New York also announced that center fielder Aaron Hicks underwent Tommy John surgery on Wednesday, and the procedure went as expected. Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed the surgery in Los Angeles.
Encarnación, acquired from the Mariners in June, hit .249/.325/.531 with 13 home runs and 37 RBIs in 44 games for the Yankees. He scuffled in the postseason, batting .161 without a home run in eight games.
The 36-year-old spent most of his time at designated hitter, with a little first base mixed in. He missed about a month with a right wrist fracture after being hit by a pitch in early August.
Encarnación was on the last year of a three-year, $60 million deal he signed with Cleveland in 2017 before being traded to Seattle and then New York. He has hit at least 30 home runs in each of the last eight seasons, the only MLB player to have done so.
Hicks' initial 8-10 month rehab timetable puts him on track for a return in the range of June-August, meaning he'll miss several months of the 2020 season.