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Mariners reportedly getting trade interest in Domingo Santana

Mariners outfielder Domingo Santana in 10th in the AL in RBIs but leads the MLB in strikeouts. (AL)

Business finally started to pick up Sunday ahead of Wednesday’s MLB trade deadline, and rumors regarding the Mariners followed close behind.

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The rumors have to deal with 26-year-old outfielder Domingo Santana, who crushed his 20th home run of the season Sunday, a hit that played a big part in Seattle’s 3-2 win in extra innings over Detroit that delivered the second four-game sweep of the season for the Mariners.

While Santana’s age and talent make him a candidate to be part of the core the Mariners could base their current rebuild around, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto flip him seven months after acquiring him for two reasons.

First, Santana’s defense leaves a lot to be desired. Yes, Santana has looked a lot better since moving back to right field, where he is obviously more comfortable, following a failed attempt to play him in left. But the Mariners want to keep Mitch Haniger in right, and if Santana can’t play left, he’s a hard player for Seattle to find a fit in its lineup going forward.

Second, the Mariners’ biggest strength in their farm system is outfielders, with Jarred Kelenic at High-A Modesto, Julio Rodriguez at Low-A West Virginia, Kyle Lewis and Dom Thompson-Williams with Double-A Arkansas and Jake Fraley with Triple-A Tacoma. Seattle also has Braden Bishop, who made his MLB debut this season, currently on the injured list.

As for who’s interested in Santana, the two possible trade partners are the Cleveland Indians and Tampa Bay Rays, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

Both Cleveland and Tampa Bay are in the American League Wild Card race, and Cleveland is also just two games behind AL Central leader Minnesota. The Indians could certainly use the pop provided by Santana at the plate in their outfield that is lacking offensive firepower, so much so that they might be willing to put up with Santana’s shaky defense. As MLB Trade Rumors points out, however, the Rays are probably not as well-suited to use Santana in the outfield, especially when you consider the challenges that come with playing the position in a domed stadium like the one they call home.

Santana has been dealing with an elbow injury in recent days, missing four games before returning to serve as designated hitter in Seattle’s games on Saturday and Sunday. He ranks 10th in the AL with 66 RBIs and is third on the Mariners with an .817 OPS, but he also leads the majors with 135 strikeouts.

Santana is no stranger to being a trade chip. He was sent from the Phillies to the Astros while in the minor leagues in 2011, then went from Houston to Milwaukee in 2015. The Mariners picked him up last December in a trade that sent outfielder Ben Gamel to the Brewers.

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