Mariners trade for 1B Carlos Santana to help depleted lineup
In need of a short-term fix to plug a hole in their lineup, the Mariners traded for veteran first baseman Carlos Santana on Monday morning.
And if this feels like deja vu, it’s understandable.
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The Mariners are sending relief pitcher Wyatt Mills and pitching prospect William Fleming to the Kansas City Royals for Santana and cash considerations, and this marks the second time Seattle general manager/president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto has traded for Santana. It will be the first time Santana puts on a Mariners uniform, though.
Santana was part of the Mariners’ return in the trade that sent Jean Segura to Philadelphia and brought J.P. Crawford to Seattle prior to the 2019 season. He was flipped rather quickly to Cleveland, however, as the M’s were just starting their rebuild at the time and looking to shed veteran contracts.
Seattle needs a first baseman after Ty France, their top hitter and a likely All-Star, landed on the 10-day injured list last week with a sprained left elbow. The M’s also need firepower for their lineup with Mitch Haniger, Kyle Lewis and Tom Murphy all out of action, and Crawford and Jesse Winker likely to receive suspensions after they were ejected Sunday for fighting in a brawl with the Angels.
The 36-year-old Santana, a switch-hitter, can be seen as a buy-low acquisition. He has a slash line of just .216/.349/.341 for a .690 OPS in 52 games this season. He has four homers and 10 doubles in 212 plate appearances, and he still maintains a strong eye at the plate with 36 walks to 28 strikeouts. He hit 19 homers in 158 games last season and had a strong 2020 campaign, leading the American League with 47 walks for Cleveland in the shortened 60-game season. He was an All-Star in 2019, slashing .281/.397/.515 (.911) with a career-high 34 homers that year with Cleveland.
Santana is in the final year of a two-year, $17.5 million contract, according to Spotrac.
Mills, a 27-year-old Spokane native who played at both Gonzaga Prep in high school and Gonzaga University in college, has appeared in eight games with the Mariners this season. He has a 4.15 ERA in 8 2/3 innings. He was with Triple-A Tacoma at the time of the trade
Fleming, 23, was an 11th-round pick by the Mariners in the 2021 MLB Draft. With Low-A Modesto this year, he is 6-6 with a 4.92 ERA in 14 starts (67 2/3 innings).
This could be the first of several moves by Seattle before the MLB trade deadline on Aug. 2.
The Mariners begin a homestand Monday night when they host the Baltimore Orioles in a 7:10 p.m. game. Coverage will be carried on Seattle Sports Station 710 AM, the flagship of the Mariners Radio Network, starting with the pregame show at 6 p.m.
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