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In a move that could signal the start of a full-fledged youth movement, the Kansas City Royals on Monday traded Carlos Santana to the Seattle Mariners and selected the contract of Vinnie Pasquantino from Triple-A Omaha.
Pasquantino was batting .280 with 18 home runs and 67 RBIs in 69 games with the Storm Chasers. He also had 37 walks and 36 strikeouts.
The move to add Pasquantino, 24, to the major-league roster was part of a series of transactions. The Royals traded Santana for a pair of right-handed pitchers, Wyatt Mills and William Fleming.
Mills, who was added to the Royals’ 40-man roster, will be optioned to Omaha. Fleming will be going to one of the Royals’ Class A affiliates, Quad Cities.
To make room for Pasquantino on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Ronald Bolaños was designated for assignment.
A fan favorite
After Santana struggled at the start of the season, Royals fans began clamoring for Pasquantino, who is 6-foot-4 and 245 pounds, to join the Royals and take Santana’s spot at first base.
Pasquantino, who was an 11th-round pick in the 2019 draft, was the International League’s player of the month in May after he batting .320 with 12 home runs, 35 RBIs, 27 runs scored, .804 slugging percentage, and 1.197 OPS in 26 games.
He finished the month with a home run in three straight games.
Santana Era ends
Santana, 36, opened the season by hitting .127 in April after stumbling down the stretch in 2021.
But Santana, who signed a two-year contract with the Royals before the 2021 season, was batting .357 with two homers and 11 RBIs in 17 June games. He had 13 walks and seven strikeouts in that span.
The new guys
Mills, 27, had a 4.15 ERA in eight games this season, collecting six strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings. He was a third-round selection in the 2017 MLB Draft, and made his major-league debut last year. He had a 9.95 ERA in 11 games last season.
Fleming, 23, is in his second season as a pro. He was an 11th-round pick in last year’s draft. He was 4-1 with a 3.27 ERA in 22 innings pitched with 27 strikeouts and four walks in nine appearances at the Arizona Complex League and with Low-A Modesto. This year at Modesto he has a 6-6 record with a 4.92 ERA in 67 2/3 innings.
Bolaños, 25, appeared in eight games this season with a 4.42 ERA in 18 1/3 innings.