LAS VEGAS — Traded for the second time in 10 days, Carlos Santana on Thursday morning returned to the Cleveland Indians in a deal that sent Edwin Encarnacion to the restructuring Seattle Mariners.
A year after leaving Cleveland for a three-year, $60-million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, and that week-and-a-half after being the centerpiece of the trade that sent three players, including shortstop Jean Segura, from Seattle to the Phillies, Santana is back with the organization with which he spent a decade.
In a related trade, the Tampa Bay Rays were to receive Yandy Diaz, the 27-year-old corner infielder, and right-handed pitcher Cole Sulser from the Indians for Jake Bauers, a 23-year-old first baseman and outfielder, to the Indians. The Mariners received $5 million from the Rays as part of the three-way deal that offset part of Encarnacion’s salary.
The trade amounts to a further salary dump from the Mariners, who already this winter have traded second baseman Robinson Cano, closer Edwin Diaz, starting pitcher James Paxton, reliever Alex Colome and Segura off an 89-win team. Santana was due another $35 million over the next two seasons, so was never likely to be a Mariner for long. Encarnacion is owed $20 million in 2019 and a $5 million buyout (or $20 million) in 2020. The Mariners could trade Encarnacion, along with the Jay Bruce, Mike Leake and others in the coming weeks or months.
Santana, an Indian for eight major league seasons, batted .229 and had a .352 on-base percentage, both career lows, and hit 24 home runs for the Phillies last season, his first in the National League. The Phillies traded him away in part to create an opening at first base for Rhys Hoskins, pushed to the outfield to make room for Santana. That outfield spot will be taken by veteran Andrew McCutchen, signed by the Phillies on Wednesday.
In Cleveland, Santana is likely be the regular designated-hitter. In that role for the Indians, Encarnacion batted .252 and hit 70 home runs over two seasons. The Mariners also received a draft pick in the trade.
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