Seattle Mariners

Mariners trade Carlos Santana to Indians for slugger Edwin Encarnacion

Cleveland Indians’ Edwin Encarnacion watches his RBI sacrifice fly during the second inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Cleveland Indians’ Edwin Encarnacion watches his RBI sacrifice fly during the second inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) AP

So Carlos Santana spent all of 10 days as a member of the Seattle Mariners – and he never got to actually wear the jersey in a game.

The 32-year-old first baseman was traded to the Cleveland Indians Thursday morning as part of a three-team deal that brings 35-year-old designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion to Seattle — although, maybe not for very long, as Santana also learned.

The Mariners also receive a compensatory draft pick, a competitive balance B selection, which would be the 77th overall pick.

“We’re excited to add a proven offensive performer in Edwin Encarnación,” Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a press release. “In addition, by adding another draft pick for 2019, we have another opportunity to add to the talent in our minor league system.”

Also involved, the Tampa Bay Rays traded outfielder Jake Bauers to the Indians for Yandy Diaz. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that the Rays also sent $5 million to the Mariners, while the Mariners sent $6 million to the Indians.

After reports swirled early the Mariners later announced the deal after the Rule-5 draft, also saying that Dipoto had been taken to a nearby hospital under an “abundance of caution.” They said he is doing fine now, but he had been feeling ill since Tuesday.

Yet, the trades must go on.

So why does this one make sense for the Mariners?

A 32-year-old for a 35-year-old? The Mariners have gone young this offseason, but this deal swaps a veteran for even more of a veteran.

But Santana is owed $41.1 million over the next two years of his contract, with a club option for 2021. Encarnacion is owed $21.7 million in 2019 with a $5 million buyout option for 2020.

This is all about payroll flexibility. Santana wasn’t expected to open the season with the Mariners, anyway, and the same could be expected of Encarnacion as the Mariners continue to look to add younger prospects to build toward contention in 2020 and 2021.

Encarnacion has been one of the most potent power hitters over the past seven seasons. He leads the major leagues in home runs and RBI since 2012.

Just three seasons ago Encarnacion hit 42 home runs and led the American League with 127 RBI. He hit 38 home runs in 2017 and last year he hit .246/.336/.474 with 32 home runs and 107 RBI.

He mostly slotted at DH for the Indians but he did play 23 games at first base.

As for Santana, the Mariners acquired him less than two weeks prior in a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies that sent All-Star shortstop Jean Segura, as well as relievers Juan Nicasio and James Pazos to the East Coast. The Mariners also got 23-year-old shortstop J.P. Crawford as part of the trade.

Santana came up with the Indians, playing the first eight seasons of his career with the team before moving to Philadelphia as a free agent prior to the 2018 season.

If you’re keeping count, here’s who the Mariners have traded away so far this offseason: Mike Zunino, Guillermo Heredia, James Paxton, Alex Colome, Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz, Jean Segura, Juan Nicasio, James Pazos and Santana.

As part of seven trades so far since the season ended, here’s who the Mariners have acquired: Ricardo Sanchez, Mallex Smith, Justus Sheffield, Erik Swanson, Dom Thompson-Williams, Omar Narvaez, Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak, Jarred Kelenic, Justin Dunn, Gerson Bautista, J.P. Crawford, briefly Carlos Santana and now Edwin Encarnacion.

TJ Cotterill is the Seattle Mariners and MLB writer for The News Tribune. He started covering MLB full-time in 2018, but before that covered Ken Griffey Jr.’s Hall of Fame induction in Cooperstown, the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay and spent seven years writing about high schools, including four as TNT’s prep sports coordinator. Born and raised in Washington.