Indians re-aquire Carlos Santana, but at a cost

AP Photo/Aaron Josefczyk

The Cleveland Indians have rectified a wrong by trading to re-acquire the beloved Carlos Santana from the Seattle Mariners just days after the Philadelphia Phillies had traded him to obtain All-Star shortstop Jean Segura.

Edwin Encarnacion was sent to the Mariners to complete the deal. Encarnacion is owed $20 million for the 2019 season with either a team option for 2020 at the same rate or a $5 million buyout. Santana‘s contract has $34.5 million guaranteed over the 2019 and 2020 seasons with a team option at $17.5 million for the 2021 season or a mere $500 thousand buyout. So, the Indians end up taking on more overall money through this trade, but the team is able to split it up over multiple years.

MLB Network’s Jon Heyman was first to report the trade.

In a somewhat separate deal, the Indians also shipped out Yandy Diaz and a player to be named later (PTBNL)– via the No. 77 pick in the 2019 MLB Draft– to the Tampa Bay Rays for Jake Bauers. The controversial batted-ball profile of Diaz never saw his power match the potential in limited plate appearances for the Indians, but he showed enough promise (and biceps) to spark hope in the minds of many fans.

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times was first to report.

Bauers had just been named the starting first baseman for the Rays in 2019 by general manager Erik Neander on Wednesday (as reported by Juan Toribio of The Athletic). Like Diaz, the 23 year old left-hander is said to have much un-tapped power potential. 2018 was his first season in MLB in which he displayed great patience at the plate and more power than he had shown in the minor leagues. He is an above average baserunner and has reportedly improved at both first base and corner outfield defense. He should be expected to have an opportunity to grab the starting left field spot with Jason Kipnis moving back to second base and Jose Ramirez to third.

The trade was a three-team deal in that there was cash considerations as well as reported by Joel Sherman of The New York Post.

Sherman is slightly incorrect though as the Indians are actually taking on guaranteed money, so the assumption should be his statement is referring specifically to the 2019 payroll.

The Indians have now made their first two big moves at the Winter Meetings. The question remains if they will continue to reshape their roster by trading one of their starting pitchers or perhaps Yonder Alonso. Stay tuned.

Until then, let us celebrate a player who loved living in Cleveland and is returning home.