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Mariners swap sluggers with Cleveland — during Rule 5 draft

Edwin Encarnación is a member of the Mariners, at least for now. (AP)

It was far from the Mariners-record 77 minutes set by Mallex Smith two years ago, but Carlos Santana, we barely knew ya.

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As the Rule 5 draft was getting underway Thursday morning at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, news broke that the Mariners and Indians were finalizing a deal that would send Santana back to the team that originally signed him, the Cleveland Indians, in exchange for first baseman/designated hitter Edwin Encarnación.

The trade was officially announced as a regular two-team deal by the Mariners, with Santana, who Seattle acquired earlier this month from Philadelphia in the Jean Segura trade, going to the Indians for Encarnación and a Compensatory Round B pick (No. 77) in next summer’s MLB Draft. But with the Indians also completing a deal at the same time with the Tampa Bay Rays and cash being exchanged between the three teams, there was a bit more involved in the deal.

“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.”

The draft pick and difference in salaries – Santana is owed almost $42 million over the next two years while Encarnación will make $20 million in 2019 with a $20 million club option (or $5 million buyout) in 2020 – will most likely be what this trade is about for the Mariners as Encarnación, who leads the MLB in home runs and RBIs since 2012, is not expected to remain with the organization for long.

With the Winter Meetings coming to a close, travel and another situation might slow another deal with the Rays, however. Dipoto finished Thursday’s trade from a hospital, where he had been taken “out of an abundance of caution,” according to the Mariners, after dealing with an illness for much of the week.

The 2018 Mariners offseason. Stay tuned…

Rule 5 Draft: Mariners add 1, lose 3

The Mariners selected right-handed pitcher Brandon Brennan from the Rockies in the first round of the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday, but they lost a trio of players in the Triple-A Phase.

Brennan, 27, was taken with 13th and final pick of the first round of the Major League Phase. He appeared in four games with Colorado’s Triple-A affiliate in Charlotte in 2018 but spent the majority of the season at Double-A Birmingham. He ranked third among Southern League relievers in lowest batting average against (.197), lowest walks per nine innings (2.49) and fewest baserunners per nine innings (9.31). The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Brennan finished the year with a combined 5-4 record with a 3.25 ERA and one save over 44 games (74 2/3 innings).

As a selection in the MLB phase, Brennan must be kept on the Seattle’s 25-man roster for the entirety of the 2019, and he must remain active (not on the disabled list) for at least 90 days. If not, the Mariners must offer him back to the Rockies.

As for the players Seattle lost, the Nationals took center fielder Chuck Taylor and the Yankees selected right-handed pitcher Adonis De La Cruz in the first round of the Triple-A phase, while right-handed pitcher Chris Mazza went to the Mets in the second round.

710Sports.com’s Brent Stecker contributed to this report.

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